Jeffrey Lofthus, Ph.D.
Ph.D., M.A., & B.S. - University of North Dakota
Prior to entering the education field, I was an electrician, farm laborer, bookseller, food server, bartender, custodian, and in the Army National Guard (Combat Engineer, Water Purification Specialist and a Retention Counselor). I spent a couple of years hitchhiking and riding the rails around the U.S in the 1970s. My BS degrees are in secondary education (social science and English) and Elementary Education and my MA is in counseling. I served as a school counselor and a teacher prior to becoming an administrator. My Ph.D. is in Educational Leadership (Principal and Superintendent). I served as an elementary principal for 8 years until 2001 in Nebraska. I served two buildings – one K-6 and the other a K-3 public Montessori. I'm a Professor of Education at UAS in Juneau. I serve as the Coordinator of the Distance Bachelor of Arts Elementary Education Program, teaching classes, and supervising student teachers. In the past, I taught classes and supervised principal interns for the UAS Principal Program in addition to my work in elementary education. I work closely with the Preparing Indigenous Teachers and Administrators for Alaska's Schools (PITAAS) program, recruiting, supporting, and advising Alaska Native students in teacher and educational leadership. Additionally, I taught numerous courses and supervised interns in the Educational Leadership Program (teachers aspiring to be principals) at UAA from 2001 to 2008 and served as Education Outreach for an NSF grant with UAF Arctic Research Faculty. I am the Executive Director of Alaska ASCD. I look forward to serving you.
My maternal grandmother earned two bachelor's degrees -- education and liberal arts in 1914 at the University of North Dakota. She had a strong influence on me, encouraging me to be inquisitive and curious as a young person and as a young adult she encouraged me to be a reader and to love learning. I read through her bookshelf of Reader's Digest condensed stories and more and at the age of 13, I read To Kill A Mockingbird while driving a grain truck on the farm...I was hooked. After my vocational training and some years working as an electrician I returned to her alma mater to become a teacher, counselor, school administrator, and now a professor at UAS.
As an early undergrad having long been an avid reader I had the privilege of taking a number of literature courses from Dr. Robert Lewis (who later served on my dissertation committee). Over time, Dr. Lewis learned of my experiences starting the day after I left high school of hitchhiking and riding the rails around the United States. For his Studies in American Fiction course, he assigned, among other books, The 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos. On the day we were to discuss Passos' book...just as class was about to start the English Department Office Manager entered the room to say "Dr. Lewis is running late and he requested that Jeff Lofthus teach the class until he arrives." I did just that and as a young undergrad facilitating the discussion I recall thinking..."this is something I want to do and someday will."
What do you enjoy most about UAS?
The ongoing opportunities to establish and maintain meaningful relationships with my students.