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Association of California School Administrators

Association of California School Administrators

Amy Peterman is assistant superintendent of Educational Services in Ceres USD, the same district she went to school at as a child.

Peterman pursues excellence for staff and students

June 14, 2021
Name: Amy Peterman Award: Central Office Administrator of the Year Title: Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, Ceres USD ACSA highlights: Member since 2001; Presenter at 2019 Leadership Summit and 2012 Region 7 Spring Conference; Stanislaus Charter President (2008-09); Region 7 Secondary Principal of the Year (2014).
When Amy Peterman earned her doctorate in educational leadership while she was an elementary school principal, she decided to draw on what she learned in her program to help develop other future leaders. In her role as assistant superintendent of Educational Services, she oversees a comprehensive professional development program based on the work of educational pioneers.
Peterman’s focus extends to students, too. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Peterman formed a Distance Learning Grading Policy design team of teachers, instructional coaches and administrators to address students’ unique grading needs during the crisis. As a result, Ceres Unified School District overhauled its zero-to-100 grading system and replaced it with an Equitable Grading Policy. Between the first quarter and mid-year grades, secondary school students saw a 20 percent reduction in “F” grades.
She also understands the importance of technology in an equitable school system. Peterman helped to deploy more than 13,000 devices to students in fall 2016, and manages a team of educational technology specialists that assists teachers in using technology in their classrooms and lessons.
“Underlying all that she does is a relentless pursuit of excellence in meeting the needs of all Ceres students, regardless of the challenges they bring or any circumstances affecting public education,” said Ceres Unified Superintendent Scott Siegel. “Always important, that commitment to excellence has taken on particular significance during pandemic-related hybrid and distance learning.”
What’s your favorite book or quote on leadership? I have read so many amazing leadership books over the years, most of which don’t focus specifically on education. But Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” changed the way I lead. I’ve always had a strong sense of “why” behind my own decision-making but ensuring that same “why” is clear to everyone in the organization is essential for building and maintaining greatness.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Early in my teaching career, my principal (and former ACSA State President) Bob Lee advised me to pursue school administration instead of a counseling credential. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. He encouraged me to embrace every leadership opportunity offered to me, and it has led me to the most fulfilling career I could have ever imagined.
What would people be surprised to learn about you? As a young person, I never intended to pursue education as a career. I actually wanted to be a sportscaster at one point in my life. I worked for The Modesto Bee in college in the sports department. That was a tough job! The hours and the deadlines were incredibly stressful. I changed my major from journalism to English, and I always loved sports, so I decided to become an English teacher/coach. Best decision ever!
What made you want to become a school administrator? I’ve always been drawn to leadership roles. I was highly involved in student council and ASB as a student. I entered the admin program after just a few years in the classroom. I loved it! I got a chance to fill in for an administrator on leave and loved the fast-paced days and working with more students than I could impact within the walls of my classroom.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome to get where you are? I lost my mother to cancer in my late 20s. She was an incredible influence in my life, so not having her to lean on has always been difficult. But anytime I face something challenging, I think about what advice she would give me and about the encouraging words she always had for me. I have an incredible support system in my husband, two beautiful daughters, my sister (who is a school principal in Ceres USD, so we have lots of work conversations and lean on each other a lot), and my incredible dad. Although I still miss my mom every single day, I’m so lucky to have an amazing family around me.
What are you most proud of accomplishing? I think I’m most proud of returning back to Ceres as a leader after having grown up and attended school here. My experiences as a student in Ceres schools were nothing but positive, and I was influenced by so many amazing teachers and leaders. It feels great to have developed a career here where I can give back to the community that meant so much to me growing up. Ceres USD has a school named after my mother, Patricia Kay Beaver Leadership Magnet School, of which my sister Libby Callahan is the principal.
How has ACSA supported you in your career/current position? I joined ACSA in 2001, as soon as I became a school administrator. From day one, ACSA members and leaders have inspired and supported me. I had the opportunity to serve as the Stanislaus Charter President back in 2008-09, and it gave me the chance to meet so many other school administrators from around and even outside the area. It also made me realize how hard working the volunteers who fill ACSA leadership positions are. ACSA’s professional learning opportunities are also second to none. I try not to miss a Leadership Summit as well as the opportunities provided by our charter and region. I am so thankful to ACSA for continuing to help me grow as a leader!
What has the impact of the COVID-19 worldwide health crisis taught you/how has it inspired you as an educator? The pandemic has taught me how incredibly resilient educators and in particular educational leaders are. The past year has been one of the most difficult any of us have ever experienced in our careers; yet I am constantly hearing from educators about how we have learned so much and how we will be even better at serving our students’ needs as we work to recover as a community. This inspires me to no end! Let’s use the lessons learned over the past year to improve our systems and help develop the best generation of learners the world has ever seen!
2021 Central Office AOY Amy Peterman with her family.
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