Prior to joining the CSUCI faculty in 2006, Dr. Tollefson worked in education for 24 years. Her career began in Kodiak, Alaska where she worked as a middle school teacher for nine years and in administration for the next five—first as a curriculum and staff development coordinator and then as an elementary school principal. She developed an interest in teacher education while pursuing her doctoral degree at the University of New Mexico; while there, she worked with student teachers as a methods instructor, program manager, and field supervisor. She taught fifth grade midway through her doctoral program in order to experience the current era of accountability in education firsthand, and to reconnect with other realities of everyday life as a public school teacher.
Tollefson’s Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies was awarded by the University of New Mexico in 2004. She earned her Master’s degree from the University of Alaska, Anchorage in Public School Administration, and her Bachelor’s degree in Education from Valley City State University in North Dakota. In addition to teacher education, her interests include democratic education (specifically in terms of understanding how voice and a sense of agency or efficacy are facilitated and inhibited in schools, for students, parents, and educators alike), teacher-parent relationships, bullying, gender equity, and media literacy.