Peters seeks return to Juneau School Board

Posted: Thursday, September 17, 2009

For Bill Peters, serving on the Juneau School Board is all about being involved in the community and the youth that ultimately make up Juneau's future.

Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire
Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire

"I'm about ensuring that kids in Juneau get a solid education with the hope that they will be solid citizens and come back and be a part of our community," he said.

It's a community Peters wholeheartedly cares about. It's where he's cultivated a garden with his wife, Lisa, at the home they've owned for the last six years. It's home for his three children. And it's a place to which he hopes they will return once they've finished college, traveling, and other endeavors.

"My kids will say, 'Aw Dad, why did you say that?'" Peters said.

A self-proclaimed family guy, Peters can't help but smile when he talks about his kids, Sam, 20, Lauren, 18, and Earl, 17, a senior at Thunder Mountain High School.

"Yes, I'm proud to say (Earl) chose to go to TMHS all on his own, that was his choice ... and now he gets to be a part of the first graduating class. I'd like to think those kids are proud to have had a say in defining Thunder Mountain," he said.

During the school's conception, Peters was co-chair for Build It Now, an erstwhile advocacy group aimed at turning the idea of a second traditional high school in Juneau into a reality.

Peters smiled again at the mention of his daughter who was studying abroad in Argentina and will likely return this year.

"I think she caught the travel bug," he said.

And he's proud to have raised his kids in the Juneau School District. Peters grew up in the Anchorage area, but believes Juneau's schools have a superior variety of engaging activities.

"When it comes to the field trips, Discovery Southeast, the tide-pooling, we do a good job of getting our kids involved in the resources this area has to offer," he said.

Because of his belief in Juneau schools, his desire to help local youth, and because he enjoys being immersed in the community that Peters returns this year to run again for the Juneau School Board. Peters served a term from 2004 to 2007 and stepped down to attend to his mother, whose health was failing.

Before and during his first go on the board, Peters was an advocate for Thunder Mountain High School and worked to cultivate smaller learning communities for students. He worked on the facilities committee overseeing local education facilities, making sure schools, students and teachers have the means and the right equipment to be successful. He was a part of the budget process, work that meshed well with his own financial background in banking. Peters was the vice president of the board and in his final year served as president.

If elected again, Peters said his top priority is to ensure students graduate and meet standards set by the No Child Left Behind Act.

"My No. 1 priority is giving the child the tools to succeed," he said.

He's also a proponent of listening.

"I don't claim to have the silver bullet when it comes to solving problems. I don't have all the answers," he said.

But he believes those answers come from listening to experts and having the conversations that will ultimately lead to good decisions.

Other goals and stances:

• Supports drug testing in schools and believes students who test positive should be banned from the sport for a set amount of time.

• Believes the school district is "on the right track" when it comes to overall management.

• Supports community involvement and believes it is the key to student success in school and upon graduation.

• Proponent of small learning communities for students.

• Supports long-term funding for school athletics and believes in retaining scholarships for students who need assistance to participate.

• Believes in benefits of pre-school learning.

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