Tracie Peterson: More than Mom

Alex Peterson, Senior Editor

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Group of students at Poqunock school on earth day doing a green project.

Three kids, a single parent with tuition to pay, and two people who you have to make sure graduate high school, all of that with another entire school under your helm, Tracie Peterson is truly more than just my mom. In 2006 Tracie Peterson moved back to Windsor, Connecticut with her 3 toddler sons and husband. When asked why to move from her inner-city job in Philadelphia she said: ¨To give back to the community that raised me.¨ She has now held three different positions in Windsor Public Schools over the past 12 years and touched countless lives. It is safe to say her mission has been accomplished.

 

Peterson´s Windsor Public Schools career started where it began, at Clover Street Elementary school where she once attended almost 40 years ago. There she began her stint in the Windsor Public Schools as vice principal. She said it was ¨surreal¨ continuing her educational career at the same place that it started. Peterson was adamant in making sure that she had an impact on not only the school as a whole, but every individual student that walked through those doors. When speaking about the impact she had on kids she said ¨I felt responsible for each and every one of those kids, even the ones that didn’t want to be helped. I made it my mission to make sure those kids got the education they deserved.¨  I spoke to Adam Muirhead, a Clover Street and Windsor High School alumni, and he had this to say about Mrs. Peterson: ¨You saw the passion in her everyday… Unlike a lot of other teachers in that school, you could tell that she really wanted to be there.¨  My mom was doing all this on top of raising three young kids at home. 

Her next job at Windsor Public Schools was her work as the head of literacy for k-12.  This meant that she was in charge of making sure that everyone in Windsor Public schools could read on grade level. She was no longer confined to a singular building, but could make an impact on kids of all ages and grades. Going to every school, working with every kid, with the subject she loved the most she said ¨English is my thing you know? So this job just felt natural.¨ This job also opened her eyes up to the diversity of Windsor. She said ¨I always knew Windsor was diverse, but sheesh, coming from the inner city to this was… Even after being here for a few years the diversity and differences from school to school were always jarring.¨ This is why mom loved Windsor so much, why she pours everything she has into the town because being a minority and a woman in this world ¨Windsor is exactly the type of place I have to fight for.” My mom’s passion was always English. She taught it for five years to 7th graders in Philadelphia, so this job was a dream for her. Dr. Craig Cooke, the superintendent of Windsor Public Schools said ¨I love Tracie´s work ethic.” This was a common theme in the people that spoke on behalf of her. Peterson fulfilled this role in our school system for four years touching and changing countless lives as she tried to do at every stop on her journey.   

Tracie Peterson´s current role is that of the Principal of Poquonock elementary school. She said ¨This is by far the most fun she has had as an administrator… I have a great staff and even better kids.” This seems to be the consensus amongst the entire school Peterson´s longtime friend and 1st-grade teacher at Poquonock, Monique Scott,  said ¨She is a joy to work for and with, every day is an adventure… She is always teaching and learning which is what makes her such a great principle and human.¨ This is her 5th year there and she is still discovering new things about herself and the school. Tracie Peterson genuinely knows all of the kids in her school. This was demonstrated as she was being interviewed. Walking through the halls of the school any kid that saw her was elated to see her and of course my mom knew them by name and  gave them a big hug before sending them on their way to wherever they were going. It was touching to see the connection she had with all of her students. ¨We LOVE Mrs. Peterson¨ a group of 2nd graders told me when they found out I was writing a story on her and it was clear to see that’s what the whole school thought. Loraine Marci who has been a secretary at the school for as long as Peterson has been in Windsor said this: ¨I´ve seen many principals come and go, but her, that’s once in a lifetime kind of person that you are going to get to meet.¨ She also said ¨She’s like a mom to all of these kids, and they are so young she is impacting them in ways some of them will never know.” That is extremely high praise from someone who had been at the school for so long.

Tracie Peterson is an exemplar of what educators should be. She does so much for the community that raised her, she has given back and so much more to the place that she calls home, and that is more than most can say about their hometown. When asked to reflect on her collective time in Windsor from when she was a child to now she could only use two words ¨Life Changing¨ which is ironic because the people that interacted with her in Windsor would probably describe her implications on them in the same way.

 

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Tracie Peterson: More than Mom