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Pennie M. Olson, Ph.D.


Professor Emeritus
Elementary and Middle Level Teacher Education
School of Teacher Preparation
National College of Education

Programs/Classes Taught:

M.A.T. and B.A. in Elementary Education

ELE 500 Practicum I and Seminar
ELE 510 Practicum II and Seminar
ELE 590 Student Teaching
ELE 569 Portfolio Development for Subsequent Teaching Endorsement - Elementary Education
ELE 575 Practicum for Subsequent Teaching Endorsement - Elementary Education Supervisor of Practicum Candidates and Student Teachers

Areas of Expertise:

Career Changers Classroom Management Lesson Planning Beginning Teachers Alternative Routes to Licensure


I am a tenured, Associate Professor of Elementary Education in National College of Education at National Louis University. I came to NLU in September of 1989. Prior to coming the NLU, I was a classroom teacher in elementary and middle level classrooms for 15 years. I also have experience as a substitute teacher in grades K-12 and as a graduate teaching assistant and instructor at the university level.

I began my school career in first grade in Valley City, North Dakota. Four years later, my family moved and I began fifth grade in West St. Paul, Minnesota. I graduated from Henry Sibley High School in West St. Paul. I enrolled that fall as a freshman at Winona State University, a small institution in southern Minnesota on the Mississippi River. Although I started my college life as a mathematics major, I graduated with my Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education.

I began my teaching career in fourth grade in a small school district in a K-8 school. During my second year as a teacher, I was asked to host a student teacher in my classroom. Wow! What a wonderful compliment from the principal to think that I was good enough to help someone else become a teacher. Wow! What a terrible responsibility to think that I was good enough to help someone else become a teacher. In my years as a classroom teacher, I hosted four student teachers and numerous pre-clinical students. Each time, I felt the same thrill and the same anxiety that I had felt that first time. Because of these experiences, I decided that I would like to become a university-based teacher educator rather than a school-based teacher educator. This is a decision that I have never regretted. I began working on a master's degree at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. After stopping out for a short time, I graduated with my Master of Science in Education. I returned to school again; this time at the University of Arizona in Tucson to complete my Doctor of Philosophy degree. I graduated and later came to National College of Education in Fall 1989.

Since I came to NLU, I have taught a number of different classes. These include Methods of Teaching Language Arts, Methods of Teaching Social Studies, Methods for Teaching Health and Physical Education, Introduction to Technology in Education, Authentic Assessment, Classroom Management, Starting the School Year Successfully, the Beginning Teachers' Workshop, both graduate and undergraduate seminars for Practicum I, II, III, and Student Teaching. I have served as both a Program Coordinator for Elementary Education and Department Chair. I have also served on several college and university committees and helped to develop several new classes in both the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Teaching degree programs in Elementary Education.


Doctor of Philosophy - University of Arizona Master of Science in Education - Northern Illinois University Bachelor of Science - Winona State University

Research and Interests:

Standards based certification Learning to Be a Teacher

Contact Information:
Associate Professor
Elementary and Middle Level Teacher Education


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

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