Dr. Kent Peterson ’69 is an Emeritus professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently works with urban, rural, and suburban leadership academies that serve new, aspiring, and experienced school principals in the U.S. and around the world.
After Amherst, Dr. Peterson ’69 continued his education at Temple University (MA), and the University of Chicago (Ph.D). He is the founding director of the Vanderbilt Principals Institute and the Co-director of the Wisconsin LEAD Academy. Previously he was the Director of the National Center for Effective Schools Research.
Dr. Peterson ’69 has had a career-long commitment to universal access to quality, caring, and supportive schools. From his start as a 5th grade teacher in Philadelphia public schools to educating future leaders at Vanderbilt University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kent has taught and advised thousands of students. Dr. Peterson ’69 has published more than eighty articles, co-authored seven books and raises millions of dollars in supportive education grants.
Dr. Kent Peterson ’69
Q.How have you found value and purpose in your career?
A. While I loved and valued being a K12 classroom teacher and working with my students in Philadelphia, it struck me that I truly missed battling over ideas, doing research, and sharing my ideas in writing. Graduate school and an academic career seemed to offer me the chance to add to the knowledge base on schools and school leadership, but also the opportunity to perhaps make a direct impact on the lives, careers, and success of practitioners in the field.
Some warned me not to try to live simultaneously in the academic realm and the world of practice. I decided that both were important to me and I set off to shape a career in those two arenas.