Jolie Tostenson

Instructional Coach, SPED SPP Coordinator

Began at Teachwell:

 2014

Why did you choose this field?

My reason for choosing education in general was my love of school and the great feeling of satisfaction I received while tutoring in high school and having the opportunity to be a classroom assistant as an elective class in high school. Summers off was enticing too, until I realized that it’s somewhat of a misnomer.  

What or who most inspires you? 

My parents still inspire me, as they have my whole life. Their unwavering confidence in my abilities, especially when I’m unsure, and the encouragement and support they provide, give me the courage to try new things, persevere in things that are difficult, and endeavor to improve the life of others as well as myself.

Why Teachwell?

Since beginning my career and participating in professional development, I admired the presenters for their knowledge, ability to, in essence, improve outcomes for even more students than I could on my own, through helping to enhance their teacher’s skills and knowledge. My husband happened to see the add placed by Teachwell, cut it out, and presented it to me saying, “Isn’t this what you always said you wanted to be when you grew up?” It only took one phone conversation with Joan Frevik to know that Teachwell was where I wanted to be!

What keeps you motivated?

This is a bit narcissistic, but the appreciation and positive feedback I receive from my supervisors, colleagues, and districts I work with, as well as the satisfaction of knowing I made a positive impact on the districts and staff that I work with, which in turn, hopefully has a positive impact on kids with disabilities.

How do you hope to make a difference?

My biggest hope is that through my position as an instructional coach, especially working with special education teachers, I’ve played a part in improving outcomes for so many more children than I ever could have in my capacity as a classroom teacher.

Goals for the future?

Professionally I am exactly where I want to be, but my goal is to continue to grow in the knowledge and skills required to meet the needs of Teachwell and the teachers I serve, and to continually improve the effectiveness of my presentation skills. Personally, my ultimate goal is to see my children living a happy and fulfilling life and have grandchildren I can dote on! 

What is your background experience – degrees, experience, skills?

My professional preparation began with Secondary Business Ed. and Computers, then Elementary Education, then Early Childhood Special Education, and ended with K-12 Special Education. My professional experience is in early childhood and K-3rd special education. In addition to those skills related to content, methods, and curriculum and instructional strategies common to all teachers, some of the less common skills I’ve acquired through additional training and found to be essential in my teaching and coaching, are: behavior and functional assessment, applied behavior analysis & discrete trial training, behavior support systems and interventions, understanding attention-deficit and executive function disorder and improvement strategies, understanding sensory-processing disorders and improvement strategies, parent education and involvement strategies, special education performance indicators, adult education, and data, policy, and decision-making skills as part of my responsibilities as a member of a School Improvement Leadership Team and the Special Education State Advisory Panel.

What is the one thing you would like people to know about you?

Rather than a fair-weather friend, I am a rainy-day friend. I’m at my best providing support in troubled times, so if you don’t hear from me, don’t take offense; it’s a good thing!

What quirky thing are you known for around the office?

I work from home, so sadly I’m not really “well-known.” However, in the few opportunities to work with them, I think I’m seen as having a bit of a quirky sense of humor, especially regarding events in my own life. I also have a tendency to lack impulse control when it comes to curiosity, like when using the computer, if the button is there, I think, “Let’s push it and see what happens!” Luckily, we have a fabulous computer tech with a sense of humor and infinite patience.