Karla Bollesen

Professionally, for the past 38 years, I have worked in the field of special education. After graduating from John Marshall High School in 1979, I attended the University of Wisconsin-Stout and pursued the field of education. I received my Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education in 1983 and began my teaching career in Plainview, MN. At the time of my graduation teaching jobs were difficult to find, so when a position in special education opened up in Plainview, I applied and was hired. Although I did not hold the proper certification, the position proved to be a perfect fit for me. That next summer I attended Mankato State University and obtained licensure in the area of Early Childhood Special Education. I taught in Plainview for three years and then accepted a similar position for the Rochester Public Schools. During this time, I enrolled at the University of Minnesota and obtained my Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and licensure as a Special Education Director and Elementary School Principal.

During my tenure in Rochester Public Schools, I held numerous positions both as an educator and administrator. In the field of special education administration, my roles allowed me to experience all age groups and the continuum of services for students with special needs. In addition to special education, I was afforded the opportunity to work as the Early Childhood Family Education Program Manager in Community Education, Coordinator of the Graduate Induction Program, Director of Title Programs, and Supervisor of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. For the past 11 years, I served on the Superintendent’s Cabinet in the position of Executive Director of Student Services. In this role, I was responsible for supervision of all areas of special education, related services, health services, Students In Transition (homeless), Title Programs, mental health, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). As the Executive Director, I gained extensive knowledge in the areas of finance and budgeting, human resources, grant writing, School Board Policy, and educational law.

I recently retired from Rochester Public Schools and am excited to have the time to serve the community in other ways. The opportunity to be a member of the EA Board is of great interest to me, and I hope to join all of you in continuing this very important work.

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