I have been actively involved in the Seattle Public School District for 14 years, as a parent, volunteer, public education advocate, education journalist, member of the district’s Superintendent Search Community Focus Group and the Strategic Plan Stakeholder Task Force, and director and then president of the Seattle School Board.
In 2013 I was elected to the Seattle School Board, where I served for four years, on the Curriculum & Instruction Policy Committee (2014-5), Audit & Finance Committee (Chair 2016), Executive Committee (Vice President, 2016, President, 2017), Board Head Start liaison, and as a Trustee of the Scholarship Committee. In 2017 I chose not to seek reelection.
Previously, I was honored to be invited to serve on two task forces for the Seattle School District in 2012-13, both with significant responsibilities. As a member of the Superintendent Search Community Focus Group in March 2012, I worked with 22 other community leaders to help draft questions and interview the three finalists for superintendent, to guide the school board in its selection of superintendent. On the 73-member Strategic Plan Stakeholder Task Force, from February to May of 2013, I participated in all five four-hour meetings, working with community leaders, teachers, parents, district department heads, Superintendent Banda and other stakeholders to forge the vision, mission and goals for the district’s next five years.
Speaking on a panel with Dr. Diane Ravitch and other national public education leaders for the Parents Across America kick-off event, Feb. 2011, New York. (Dr. Ravitch is seated on the left, I am in the middle)
I am a founding member of Parents Across America (PAA), a national public education advocacy organization which unites engaged parents throughout the nation, and aims to bring their voices into the local and national discussion of public education policy and practices. PAA is supported by national education historian and expert, Diane Ravitch, who served in the Department of Education in both the Clinton and Bush I administrations.
I worked with meteorologist, Cliff Mass and others to co-found the Seattle Math Coalition in 2012 to advocate for stronger math resources, curriculum and instruction in Seattle Public Schools. As we say in our statement: “Seattle is home to many cutting-edge research institutions and innovative companies including big employers like Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks and Zillow. We’re a national leader in green building and home to the University of Washington. Seattle ought to be a leader in math education too.
Sadly, too many of our city’s kids graduate from high school without the math skills they need to succeed in higher education and beyond. In fact, 51-83% of Seattle high school graduates require remedial math classes in community college. Seattle’s achievement statistics show that our problems begin in elementary school — and many students never recover.”
SeaMaCo proposed three solutions:
- Investment in sound instructional materials and curricula
- Highly qualified math instructors
- A focus on student placement and interventions when needed
We engaged with the district to achieve these goals, which we firmly believe will help all the students of SPS. During my first six months on the Board, I was pleased to help shepherd the approval of new Singapore-math based materials for K-5, Math in Focus. In my last two years on the Board I helped commit funds for the adoption of long overdue middle school math materials. Fellow SeaMaCo founder Rick Burke was also elected to the Board in 2016.
The Seattle Education Blog was established in 2009-10 as an effort to analyze public education practices and policy both locally and nationally, and to offer analysis of the Seattle School District to local families. As the co-founding editor, I applied my professional background in journalism to research and write articles to inform the community and help public school families better understand the issues affecting their children’s education. The blog has developed a national reputation for excellence.
My educational background includes a Master’s degree in Communication (Journalism) from Stanford University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature/Writing from the University of California, San Diego (with minors in Political Science and French Literature), and certificates in advanced-level French from the University of Paris, La Sorbonne.
Professional Background: I am a journalist, editor and communications strategist. Publications I have worked or written for include: Seattle Weekly, San Francisco Chronicle Features, Huffington Post, San Francisco Examiner, Salon, Race, Poverty & the Environment, Crosscut, Consumer Reports Travel Letter, Lonely Planet, Public Art Review. In recent years, I have applied my research and journalistic skills to the analysis of public education policy and practice, both local and national. I will apply this micro and macro knowledge to my job as school board director to help guide our district towards sound decisions that reflect proven, successful and meaningful education practices that benefit all the district’s students, and support their teachers.
Teaching: I have great respect for teachers and have family ties to the profession. My brother has been a public high school teacher for over 30 years, and I worked during college as an English as a Second Language (ESL) and writing tutor, and taught in the university’s Summer Bridge program for incoming freshmen from underrepresented communities. My very first job after high school was with the San Dieguito Union School District as a reader for a high school Creative Writing and English class. More recently, I taught French to K-2 students in a before-school enrichment program, and I volunteer in my children’s schools regularly.
Public Speaking on Public Education:
I have also participated in a number of education forums, panels and discussions, including:
- Panelist, Data Privacy, League of Women Voters, Seattle, Nov. 2017
- Panelist, “Are Teachers Targets? Why?” Metropolitan Democratic Club, Seattle, Oct. 2011.
- Panelist, “Parent Perspectives on Standardized Testing,” Thornton Creek Elementary School, sponsored by the Alternative Schools Coalition and Seattle Education 2010, April. 2011.
- Speaker and panelist at inaugural forum for national organization Parents Across America, featuring keynote speaker Diane Ravitch, New York City, Feb. 2011.
- Emcee, education forum “Race to Where?” featuring Diane Ravitch via Skype from New York, educator Jesse Hagopian, and UW Professor Wayne Au, of Rethinking Schools
“Having worked across the table with Sue in the district Strategic Planning Task Force work these past months, I want to support her offer to run for the school board. She’s got the right sort of insight and savvy to represent parents and students in addressing the decisions faced by our Seattle Public Schools.” — Craig Seasholes, Librarian, Sanislo Elementary School, and 2013 Strategic Plan Stakeholder Task Force Member
“When election time comes this fall, vote for Seattle School Board candidates that support good math. Sue Peters, is a strong advocate of strong math textbooks for our city’s kids. I know she would make an excellent school board member.” — Cliff Mass, UW Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, KPLU weather commentator, and math advocate
“I look forward to Sue applying her considerable intellect, integrity, thoughtfulness, and compassion to the Seattle School Board. I can’t think, in all sincerity, of another person I would rather have representing the interests of Seattle’s students in that capacity. Go, Sue!” — Tim Richards, parent