Jessica Thorson was an undergraduate at the University of St. Thomas when she got the spark she needed to embark on her future path.
“I was in a psychology club,” she said. “We brought in a variety of speakers to spark ideas for professions in the field of psychology. One of the speakers was a school psychologist and this profession blended two of my favorite passions, education and psychology. I knew I always wanted to be a part of some kind of helping profession and this was a perfect fit for me.”
Which led to today and Thorson’s new job, which she started July 1 as Osceola’s new Special Education/Pupil Services Director.
Thorson comes to Osceola after spending the last year at FIT Academy, a charter school in Apple Valley, Minnesota, as their Special education coordinator. Before that, she spent three years as a school psychologist in Ellsworth and eight years in Somerset.
Thorson credited Somerset’s Special education director at the time, Shannon Donnelly, for pushing her to get her director’s license, which she got from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2018.
Thorson said what excited her about the Osceola job was the chance to return to a traditional public school setting and returning to a school district that had similar core educational philosophies of being student centered.
“I am excited to meet the students, families, and the rest of the staff to kick off a great year!” she said. “I feel that by making this position full-time last year, Osceola has identified that special education and pupil services need a consistent leader and I hope to be that collaborative, supportive person for the District.”
Thorson also addressed the future of special education thanks to COVID-19.
“All areas in education are trying to wrap our heads around how to provide quality instruction in an alternative format (if deemed necessary to move to a blended or remote learning option),” she explained. “This will be even more crucial for students with identified disabilities and areas of need we already know they need to be specially targeted for specialized instruction…We will be working even harder to connect with families and students to ensure all students are getting what they need during this unprecedented time in education.”
Thorson is the mother to Amelia and George and enjoys swimming going on bike rides and taking our paddle board out on the St. Croix River.
“My parents still live in St. Paul, which is where I grew up, so I love being close enough to spend time with them when not running around with my kids,” she added.