Jennifer Radtke lived a varied and adventurous life working with our exceptional population. During the course of her career, she has worked as both an Emotional Behavior Disorder (EBD) paraprofessional and as an EBD teacher. She spent four years as a Special Olympics coach for residents while employed at a group home, taught as an adjunct professor at Southwest Minnesota State University for four years, and served on the Community Transition Integration Committee in Marshall, Minn. More recently, she worked with a Saint Mary's University of Minnesota online developer to transition a blended format course into an online course. She has spoken at many conferences within her cooperative service on topics ranging from assessing and understanding student behavior to developing behavior intervention plans and instructing educators on how to work with amazing individuals who are on Individual Education Plans. For the last two years, she has taught courses in a Master’s of Special Education program with a cohort in southwestern Minnesota. Her full-time job is working as the high school learning disabilities teacher at Luverne High School.
Jennifer earned an undergraduate degree in elementary education, with a minor in special education at Southwest State University in Marshall, Minn., and received a master's degree in special education from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Her true love for working with the exceptional population was propelled by growing up with her eldest brother Todd, who was born with a developmental cognitive disability. He lived in the era of ill-equipped state hospitals and pure substandard care, and was never given the opportunity to go to school. At the age of 19, and while attending college and working at a group home with four developmentally disabled women, Jennifer became Todd’s legal guardian. As she moved to different locations for various career opportunities, Todd went along and lived in group homes near his sister. His unexpected passing a few years ago deepened Jennifer’s passion for our exceptional population and intensified her desire to honor him by working with educators who are pursuing a career in special education.