Jefferson, the second of four boys, was raised in rural Ohio. He and his brothers were the original free-range children, raising horses, reading obsessively, hiking the farmland that surrounded their home, guns at the ready, and shooting at any creature that moved.
Jefferson came of age in the midst of the Vietnam war, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, the Apollo 11 moon landing and Watergate. His father interrupted generations of alcoholism by quitting drinking when Jefferson was eight and was sober for more than forty-five years before his death. Jefferson met his wife Denise in Quebec City, Canada, fifteen hundred miles from home while on a high school French club trip when he was just seventeen. They have three grown children, two Boston Terriers, and a grumpy old retriever inherited from his father.
Jefferson earned both his BA and MA (Bitchery and Abomination: Identity and Otherness in Dracula and Light in August) from The Ohio State University, where he specialized in creative writing and Critical Theory which prepared him for his work as a novelist and storyteller. Jefferson currently serves as the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing at Otterbein University, a private university in Westerville, Ohio. Through innovative public-private partnerships, a focus on access and affordability, and a commitment to serving students from Columbus City Schools, the largest urban district in Ohio, Jefferson has led the effort to enroll the most racially and socio-economically diverse classes in Otterbein’s history and closed the historical achievement gaps between underserved students and the general student body.
Before joining the Otterbein community, Jefferson served for 17 years at The Ohio State University in a variety of recruitment and strategic planning roles, serving on the leadership team that oversaw Ohio State’s move from an open enrollment institution to a highly selective one with a strong national reputation. Jefferson has published numerous articles on the college search process in higher education-related magazines and journals and is frequently interviewed by the press, especially in areas of access and affordability. He is a noted presenter at regional and national conferences on enrollment management topics.
Prior to joining Ohio State, Jefferson taught college composition, worked as a telemarketer, a sales manager, a materials expediter, a construction superintendent and a vice president of marketing.