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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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DETERMAN, Thomas. (Clinton, IA, Mar. 10, 1948--Dubuque, IA, July 22, 2014). The son of Don and Helen Determan, Thom studied and graduated with degrees in History and Secondary School Education from the University of Northern Iowa in 1970. On August 22, 1970 he married Kathleen Marshall.

A past president of the DUBUQUE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, Thom taught for twenty-two years at STEPHEN HEMPSTEAD HIGH SCHOOL. In 1985 he was selected Teacher of the Year by the Iowa Council for Social Studies. Determan was active on the state level with Model U.N. (United Nations) and the Iowa Global Education Association.

In 1993 Thom became the K-12 Social Studies Director and a consultant in multicultural and global education for the DUBUQUE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT. As part of this role, he selected teachers and community members for meetings through which curriculum was chosen for the District.

In 1993 his administrative titles became Educational Equity Director and K-12 Social Studies Director. At a time of racial turmoil in the city, Thom led the District into undertaking years of inservice training of staff members in such areas as racial, gender, and sexual bias. He brought this training to the individual schools and also used inservice days to introduce the staff to nationally recognized experts in their fields of social justice. He chaired the Dubuque Human Rights Commission from 1992 through 1996 and served as a volunteer mediator at the Dispute Resolution Center from 1995 through 2013.

In 2003 Determan was one of four Iowans recognized at the annual Friends of Iowa Civil Rights awards ceremony in Des Moines. (1)

Following his retirement from the Dubuque Community School District, Thom worked as educational consultant with COTTINGHAM AND BUTLER, INC. from 2007-2010.

In October, 2013 Thom was inducted into the Hempstead High School Hall of Fame.

Thom's work as an educator and human rights activist earned him awards from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Dubuque Community School District, Iowa Human Rights Commission, Iowa State Education Association (I.S.E.A.) and the Dubuque Jaycees. He was the recipient of the Ruby Sutton Award in 2000.

In 2013 it was announced that through his leadership the THOMAS DETERMAN GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES ENDOWMENT/AWARD had been established and would be available to eligible seniors beginning in 2014.



1. Nevans-Pederson, Mary, "Friends of Civil Rights Cite Determan," Telegraph Herald, October 12, 2003, p. 1

2. Obituary