Teresa grew up in Coronado, CA, happily riding her bike anywhere she wanted to go, feeling independent. She went to Coronado High School, then graduated with Honors in Communications from San Diego State University.
Teresa has been married to Vice Admiral John Christenson, USN (ret) for 28 years. They had three Navy babies, born in Newport, San Diego, and Bethesda. Grace, now a Sports Marketing Executive at Little League International went to three high schools in three states. Tim, a Coast Guardsman and qualified Topman on the USCGC EAGLE, moved his senior year. Matt, a junior at the Naval Academy, went to three high schools in three countries (US, Belgium, Germany). It wasn’t always easy, but we loved the adventure.
The thread of Teresa’s service while “in the Navy” was spouse education. She spent 20 years involved with the Command Spouse Leadership Course - as a student, facilitator, Advisory Group director, flag spouse advisor and finally senior flag spouse advisor, keeping the curriculum current and finding the best mentors for our commanding officer spouses. She was also involved with CORE, the Continuum of Resource Education; Navy Marine Corps Relief Society; Naval Services FamilyLine; and all those spouse groups, room mom duties, and other school volunteer opportunities along the way. She was a substitute teacher when they lived in Arlington.
In 2012 Teresa was appointed to DACOWITS, the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services. She served for four years, during which all positions, including combat, were open to women. She was awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service.
In Belgium, where the number one issue with spouses was isolation, Teresa partnered with ACS (Army Community Services) to create a group to reverse that. There, partnership was key, and she learned a lot about effectively stepping out of the box, while still working within the box, to reach spouses and give them what they needed.
She was awarded the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Medal for Distinguished Service at John’s retirement. John’s write up detailing her service to spouses was a true gift. I definitely got to be married to one of the really good ones!