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Kelly D. Holstine is the Director of Educational Equity at OutFront MN. Holstine works with Minnesota’s educators, educational leaders, policymakers, youth service providers, and community members to support and create school environments that cause humans to feel safe, respected and valued. She helps educators to decrease inequity and increase LGBTQ+ inclusivity in classrooms, schools, districts and youth organizations. She provides support, teaches concrete strategies, facilitates self-reflection, and assists with policy changes.

Kelly D. Holstine previously taught English at Tokata Learning Center in Shakopee, Minnesota, and has over 25 years of experience working with youth. She helped to design and open Tokata in 2012. Holstine has worked and volunteered in the fields of education, media, team building, social services, animal rescue, and theatre. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Massachusetts, a Communication Arts and Literature teaching license, and a Master of Arts in Education from Augsburg University.

Holstine was named the Minnesota State Teacher of the Year in 2018.  She is the first LGBTQ teacher and the second Alternative Educator to be given this honor. Her personal journey of being a gender non-conforming, lesbian teacher, among other life experiences, has helped her to be an advocate for at-risk students. Her mantra is: Every Heart Matters.

She is a supporter of compassionate accountability, curiosity over judgment, courageous connections, restorative practices, experiential education, dynamic containers, and the power of vulnerability. She is passionate about equity and steadfastly works to eliminate the opportunity gap.

Holstine lives in St. Paul with her wife, Emma Freeman, and their rescue pets.


  • 2018 Minnesota State Teacher of the Year (MNSTOY)

    • First LGBTQ Teacher and second Alternative Educator to be given this honor

  • 2018 Minnesota Women Breaking Barriers Winter Honoree

  • 2019 MN Lynx Women’s Spotlight Selection for Leader and Innovator in Arts and Education

  • 2019 MN Women’s Press Favorite Leader in Education

  • 2019 National State Teachers of the Year Cohort


  • Teacher (Communication Arts & Literature License, grades 5-12)

  • Restorative Justice & Community Circle Keeper

  • Teambuilding Program Coordinator

  • Ropes Course Facilitator & Professional Teambuilder

  • Camp Counselor

  • Link Crew Coordinator

  • Youth Case Manager

  • Advocacy Counselor for Victims of Abuse

  • Family Liaison  

  • HIV Prevention Counselor

  • Workshop Instructor

  • Volunteer Coordinator

  • Marketing Coordinator

  • Television Production Assistant

  • Advertisement Manager

  • Video Production Intern

  • Writer & Performer


1993-Present (Previous and Current)

  • United Action for Youth (UAY)

  • Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC)

  • Iowa Women’s Music Festival

  • Iowa Center for Aids Resources and Education (ICARE)

  • Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP)

  • Graffiti Theatre

  • 20% Theatre

  • Safe Hands Rescue

  • Underdog Rescue

  • Class of 1992 Chair