Cathy Olson

Associate Professor (1996)
Certification Officer and State Liaison
Coordinator, Secondary Education
Director, Teaching Materials Center


BA, Union College
MA, Andrews University


Phone:  423.236.2631 

Cathy Olson’s teaching career began when she was in second grade and gathered the neighbor children around her to play school. She has never wavered in her enthusiasm for teaching, and is especially committed to Seventh-day Adventist education. In addition to serving as an associate professor at Southern, Professor Olson currently serves as the Teaching Materials Center director, Certification Officer, and Co-Coordinator for Secondary Education.  

Professor Olson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English education from Union College and her master’s degree in English from Andrews University. She has completed an additional 30 credits of master’s level courses in professional education and literacy courses and currently holds educator’s licenses in English, history and the teaching of reading.

In addition to her teaching role at Southern, she has taught in the Cape Girardeau, Missouri, public school system, at Andrews Academy in Berrien Springs, Michigan, Cyprus Overseas School, Nicosia, Cyprus (where she taught selected subjects grades 1 through 12 and was librarian), and at Georgia-Cumberland Academy in Calhoun, Georgia. In the past, she also served Southern as an adjunct professor of English and as Graduate Coordinator for the School of Education and Psychology.

Along with her husband and children, Professor Olson spent seven years living on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus in a culturally diverse, international community and working at the headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Middle East. During that period of time and since then, they have had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East, visiting sites of historical, religious, and geographical significance.

Professor Olson and her husband have two children and two grandchildren. Like their parents, both children are immersed in serving the Adventist Church. Their son works for the Department of Adventist Mission in the General Conference and his wife works for ADRA. Their daughter is director of the English as a second language program at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies in the Philippines, where her husband is a seminary professor.

Professor Olson served as school board chair of a local Seventh-day Adventist school for a number of years. She has been active for most of her adult life in Sabbath School work in Seventh-day Adventist churches. Her current role is as Head Sabbath School superintendent in the Standifer Gap Seventh-day Adventist church. She also serves as a church pianist and in several other church positions.

Professor Olson’s hobbies include reading, visiting old and new historical sites, bird watching, walking her big, red standard poodle, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying the company of her two grandchildren (who currently live in the Philippines) whenever she can.