Ozzie Tollefsonauthor of Mr. Teacher,
Launched on Amazon, June 3, 2013

Click on link for a 9+ minutes interview of Ozzie talking about "Mr. Teacher".



48 Years in Education as Classroom Teacher, Assembly Presenter and Video Producer

HomeRoad Trip Blog 2015-16New and Old NewsVideo ProductionOzzie's Stories and EssaysContact Ozzie

Ozzie Tollefson showing his new novel


BIG NEWS! Ozzie has published a novel.
                                  Now available on Amazon.com 
Hi Folks!
     Next to the births of my three sons, June 3rd was the biggest day of my life! My new novel was launched on Amazon.com. Ever since my first year of college, I've dreamed of one day writing a book. Three years ago, I started work on MR. TEACHER, and it's a joy to have it published!  http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Teacher-Ozzie-Tollefson/dp/0615817319/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371201827&sr=8-1&keywords=%3CMr.+Teacher+Ozzie+Tollefson%3E
     BTW, if that link doesn't open, go to www.amazon.comand in their search window please type, <Mr. Teacher Ozzie Tollefson>
     At the bottom of the Amazon page, you will see a wonderful review written by David Kahl, who attended a one-room school near mine and went on to be a successful elementary school principal in Fargo. Check it out. There is also an excellent critique written by Dr. Rob Whiteley.
     Set in northern Minnesota during the last year of WWII, 1944-45, this is the fictional story of a young one-room country school teacher. Ernie Juvland goes through a hellish first year, exacerbated by the early manifestations of mental illness. This is not a happy tale of joyous bygone days set in a cute little schoolhouse.   These poor rural parents and their children don't frolic, they struggle. I've tried to write it the way I remember it, daily challenges, under the constant strain of war. MR. TEACHER has some grit.
       I believe you'll enjoy the characters I've created, like Carla Henning, the 39-year-old farmer's wife on the farm where Ernie boards. She is always eager to help Ernie, and he awakens something in her, that she believed was dead. Separated in age by 15 years, they form a meaningful bond, each helping the other through the tough times. Her young son, Dale, walks to school with Ernie each day, and the two develop a close relationship, that is always positive, and at times deeply human and poignant.
     There are many good people in my story, folks you would invite into your homes. But there are a couple of bad guys. That's life.
Anyway, that's my pitch. I hope you'll want to order and read my book. If you would like an autographed copy sent to you, send your mailing info. to ozzie@epix.net.
     Take care,
     P.S. HERE'S AN UPDATE: On December 3, 2013, I was interviewed by Doug Hamilton on Prairie Public Radio in Fargo, ND. You can find the interview at this link..
http://www.prairiepublic.org/radio/mainstreet?post=53499 I go on after a 6-minute weather report. Doug did a great job of leading me through the discussion of my novel and growing up in northern Minnesota during WWII.
You have found the official Web site of Ozzie Tollefson, writer, educator, video director and retired producer of educational assembly programs serving elementary schools.  In the summer of 2010, Ozzie was involved in an exciting project in his hometown of Fosston, Minnesota.  The East Polk Heritage Center was donated his old one-room country school.  On July 9, 2010, they moved the 103-year-old Moen School three miles into town, where it will become a living history museum of early American rural education.  Ozzie was there with his camera to cover the move.

In December of 2010, Ozzie released a 82-minute documentary on this project, "Moving Moen School."   It includes the entire process of jacking up, inserting the beams, attaching the wheels and moving the school into town.  Lora Lee Saeter provided excellent video coverage of the move and placing the building on its new foundation on the Heritage Center grounds.  She also rehearsed and taped a group of Fosston youngsters singing a number of songs popular in rural schools back in the 40's and 50's.  Ozzie included a dozen taped interviews with former teachers and students who attended one-room schools.  "Moving Moen School" can be purchased by contacting Judy Newton at 218-563-2021, or send email to newjudy@gvtel.com.
Ozzie has created a Web site for this operation, www.moenschool.com   It includes a news special done by Jamil Donith of Lakeland Public TV in Bemidji, MN.    Another video is an interview with Dean Vikan, the Heritage Center president, which covers the background on acquiring the school from Rosebud Township.    Also, there is a music video done as a personal essay by Ozzie.  He received permission from Robin and Linda Williams to use their beautiful song, "Don't Let Me Come Home a Stranger." 
Judy Tollefson Newton, Ozzie's niece, has spent the last two years collecting stories from former one-room teachers and students.  Ozzie has contributed three pieces to that volume, which will be published and sold as a fund-raiser for the Heritage Center.
In Hegins, Pennsylvania, where Ozzie lives on his 30 acre farm, he is the director of the Friedens Lutheran Players.  Over the past 14 years, Ozzie has written and directed four plays, two feature-length movies, and one documentary on Dorothy Klinger, who has performed in all of Ozzie's productions and will turn 90 this June 10th.  On February 18, 2011, the Friedens Players premiered Ozzie's latest play, "Waiting For George Jones."  On April 11th, Ozzie's 71-minute DVD of the play will be released and available for $15.00+ S/H.
Call Lee Kiefer at 570-682-3672.  All proceeds from the sale of this DVD will benefit the Friedens Lutheran Church.

Moen School on the road to Fosston
Moen School at its new home, the East Polk Heritage Center
Who the heck is Ozzie?

After 48 years in education, Ozzie Tollefson retired in June of 2008.  He spent 15 years as a classroom teacher and 33 years as an educational assembly presenter.  On the road for all those years, he gave  over 6500 performances in 1600 schools in 17 states plus Bermuda and Norway.  Over one million students have seen Ozzie's performances.
Born the last of eleven children on a small farm in northern Minnesota, he has enjoyed a remarkable career in education. In 1997 he received the Outstanding Alumni Award from Bemidji State University, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in theater and English.  (Award bio on page #6 at this site)  http://www.bemidjistate.edu/publications/horizons/files/winter98.pdf 

Upon graduation in 1960, Ozzie came east and took a teaching assignment at Bound Brook High School in New Jersey. In the next four years, he directed plays by Shakespeare, Arthur Miller, Thornton Wilder and Eugene O'Neill. Several of his students went on to achieve extraordinary success in theater and film.  One of his students, John Nutt, became a film editor after serving in the Vietnam War.  He has over 90 Hollywood movies to his credit.

Ozzie also taught for 11 years in the Bridgewater-Raritan School District and continued to direct stage productions. Many of them were original scripts written by his students.

In October of 1975, Ozzie launched his assembly program business, Ozzie Alive, Inc. Over the next thirty-three years he created educational shows on colonial life, dinosaurs, whales, Native Americans, inventors, wilderness, Hawaii, Australia and diversity.

In recent years he has ventured into video production. He has written and directed two feature length movies using community actors. He has also written and directed three stage productions as fund-raisers for Friedens Lutheran Church and the Tri-Valley Public Library in Hegins, PA.   He has also produced a  video documentary on Dorothy Klinger, 89, an amazing actress who has been in all of Ozzie's productions.  Available on DVD at the Tri-Valley Public Library, it is titled, "Dottie." 

Ozzie has received rave reviews from teachers, principals, students, and parents for "Canada Geese."  This is a 30 minute educational DVD, designed to appeal to grades K-5.  Each year a pair of Canada geese return to nest on the island of Ozzie's pond.  The video follows the life of two goslings from the day they hatch out until the day they fly away.   To see a four minute trailer on "Canada Geese," go to the VIDEO PRODUCTION page.


Pair of goslings on the island of Ozzie's pond. Day #1