Wednesday, September 26, 2018

By Brooke Larsen

Guess what day it is…? “Where Do You Work?” Wednesday! This week meet alumna Debbie Tofte (BA ’95, Elementary Education).

Tofte has lived in Oregon since 1998 and has been teaching for 23 years. She is currently in her seventh year of teaching humanities, language arts and social studies at Chehalem Valley Middle School in Newberg, Oregon.

Tofte says she is happy to be teaching at the middle school level.

“I love middle schoolers,” Tofte says. “I love their quirkiness, their high energy, their developing sense of humor, and their unique view of the world.”

Tofte says she enjoys the humanities model at the middle school level.

“The model allows me to blend curriculum and spend time going deeper into big ideas and content. I'm a creative person by nature, so this model allows me to really think creatively and outside the box,” Tofte says. “I am surrounded by creative colleagues, administration, and families, and we do what's best for kids. It's a pretty sweet gig."

Tofte says the University of Iowa College of Education has a forward-thinking direction and program that prepared her to join a small, progressive district in Eastern Illinois for her formative first three years of teaching. From there she moved to Oregon and says the training she had at Iowa, layered with her work in her first school district, made her very marketable on the West Coast.

“I was offered several jobs and found a district I wanted to be a part of,” Tofte says. “Here I am, 23 years later and I still believe my path in teaching was paved by the great instructors and the programs I was a part of in the College of Education.”

Want to be the next “Where Do You Work Wednesday?” or nominate someone? Message us on Facebook, tag them with #HawkeyeTeachers, or email us at