Our Speaker on Tuesday, June 7th was Dr. Dennis Peterson the retiring Superintendent of Minnetonaka Schools.  Dr. Peterson gave us a delightful history of his career as a Superintendent and all the steps along the way.  He started by saying “There is no place like Minnetonka” and praised the communities that make up the District 276 for their support of Minnetonka Public Schools.   Dr. Peterson began his career as a teacher in Clark County (NV). He accepted his first superintendence position in 1967 in Bison, South Dakota. His career of service includes Boulder Valley School District and Mounds View School District (MN) in assistant superintendent roles. He served as the superintendent in Southland School District (MN), Mitchell School District (SD), Laramie County School District (WY), Rockwood School District (MO) and Princeton City School District (OH).  Dr. Peterson earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion and earned his Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Colorado at Boulder and completed doctoral work at Stanford University. Dr. Peterson joked that he lived in 29 different homes on his journey as teacher and various administrative roles on his way to Minnetonka.
Dr. Peterson has served as Minnetonka’s Superintendent for 21 years and retires as of July 1, 2022 when David Ross takes over as our new superintendent.  Along the way Dr. Peterson has gained many honors including:  American Association of School Administrators (AASA) President’s Award for Vision and Leadership in Technology (2005), eSchoolNews Tech Savvy Superintendent Award (2006), ERDI Excellence in Educational Leadership Award (2007), Minnesota Superintendent of the Year (2009), Minnesota Excellence in Communications Leadership Award (2014) and "Builder of Legacy Impact" Hall of Fame Award, given by Humanex Ventures. The District has also earned a National School Boards Association (NSBA) Magna Award for Marketing School Choice, an Apple Distinguished Program Award for the iPad Project and three NSBA educational technology recognitions (2007, 2008, and 2014).
Dennis is very proud of the programs he has initiated and supported including the International Baccalaureate Program, Chinese and Spanish Language Immersion, Minnetonka Research, the Navigator Program, VANTAGE, Tonka Online, Tonka Codes, MOMENTUM, personalized learning, intensive interventions, personal pathways for learning and improved rigor at all levels. This year, the District launched a K-12 online school and the Students Achieving Independent Life (S.A.I.L.) program, which serves young adults with special needs, ages 18-21.  Most of all he is proud of the Open Enrollment and the Language Immersion K-12 Programs that have brought hundreds of millions of dollars  into the school district and sees great potential as the district embarks on it new Trades Programs in building, transportation, and aviation.
Thank you Dr. Peterson for your great leadership over the last 21 years and your great career in education and enjoy your much earned retirement!