Loren Gratz grew up in southern Minnesota. In Kindergarten and first grade, he attended a one-room country school. Several years later, upon graduation from Minnesota State University with a degree in Spanish and sociology, he served with the Peace Corps in Bolivia, South America, teaching English as a second language. Following that, Dr. Gratz served with the U.S. Navy as a communications radio operator aboard the USS Herbert J Thomas and at the Kodiak, Alaska, Naval Communications Station. Among other deployments, the USS Herbert J Thomas spent six months in Viet Nam.
Dr. Gratz taught special education (in SLD and EBD classrooms) for six years in Hastings, Minnesota, a suburb of the Twin Cities. For twenty-five years Dr. Gratz was the district’s administrator responsible for special education programs, group testing, gifted education, the technology department, and the district’s alternative high school. During those years he earned the MS degree in special education (emotional disturbance) from Minnesota State University at Mankato, Minnesota, the MSE degree in specific learning and reading disabilities from the University of Wisconsin in River Falls, Wisconsin, and a Ph.D. in education policy and administration from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota. From 2002 to 2005, Dr. Gratz taught part-time for the Graduate School of St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and has been teaching in the Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies at the University of Arizona since August 2005.
Dr. Gratz is a violinist with the Civic Orchestra of Tucson and plays violin and viola as a soloist and with small ensembles when time permits.