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Mr. Jon Peterson, PetersonP@district279.org

IB Coordinator

Where did you go to school and what is your previous job experience?

I received both my Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Minnesota. I began teaching in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin (before the Casino). There, I taught Physics, Chemistry, Animal Biology, and Earth Science. I also coached football, baseball, and I was the timer for basketball. It was a true small town teaching experience! I moved on to 6 years at North View Junior High where I taught Earth and Physical Science. I also coached tennis and softball. In 1985 I moved to Park Center where I have been ever since. Over the years, I have taught Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology, Space Science, and Astronomy. I have coached Tennis, Soccer, and Nordic Skiing.

When did you begin working at Park Center?


What is your teaching philosophy?

When someone asks what I teach I often reply, “The whole child.” I say that partly because it is unexpected, but I also truly believe that is my job. My role as IB Diploma Coordinator fits perfectly with this philosophy because of the emphasis on developing well-rounded and flexible thinking students. The specific information that I teach is less important than teaching students how to learn. I love to teach and to coach because both give me the chance to watch kids grow in different ways. In the classroom and on the field or the court kids reach for something they haven’t done before.

Why did you choose your profession?

I had really good role models growing up. I loved school and I saw many great teachers who made a difference for me and for others. I always want to do something that helps others and I can’t think of another profession that is more important to our future than helping shape our next generations.  

What is your favorite quote?

From Wade Davis: “The world into which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you. They are unique manifestations of the human spirit.”

In what room(s) can you commonly be found?

The IB office just inside the south entrance.

Additional Comments(hobbies)?

I love many outdoor activities. I cross-country ski, play tennis, and kayak. I enjoy playing most sports. I also enjoy woodworking and reading.  

Advice for students going to college?

Be prepared for hard work. The best preparation is taking rigorous classes in high school.  By working hard in high school you will find the rigors of college easier to deal with – especially the need to budget your time well.  Also, watch out for “YEE HAA” factor that goes along with the new-found freedom you’ll have. It takes a lot of maturity to avoid the many pitfalls of freshman year.