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We Love Our Girl: A Farewell to Mrs. Peterson

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On Monday, May 17, Academic Magnet faculty and students pulled off the greatest surprise in Magnet history, a farewell pep rally for our beloved principal, Judith Peterson. The ceremony consisted of four speakers all of whom are close to Mrs. Peterson. The first was her friend and colleague, Mary La Roche who spoke about their time working together. Second was a former student of Ms. Peterson,
Rabiah Harris, and third was Faith Dalzell, current senior at AMHS. Both spoke about the impact that Mrs. Peterson has had on the lives of her students.  Finally, Mrs. Lankford delivered a heartfelt speech that moved several of the audience members to tears. The highlight of the program was when Mr Johnston announced the Lecture Hall would hereby forever be known as the Judith Peterson Lecture Hall. Mrs. Peterson is the whole reason that the lecture hall exists, as she urged the architect of the school to add into the design because she knew that we needed a central space for meetings, speakers, and panels.

Mrs. Peterson has worked in the Charleston County School District for 33 years and has served as the principal of AMHS for the past 9 years. She also held the position of assistant principal at C.E. Williams and began her career as an English teacher. Contrary to popular belief, Mrs. Peterson will not be retiring completely and will continue working for the district but she is unsure as to the specifics of her future.

Mrs. Peterson has maintained an open-door policy throughout her entire career and both students and teachers know that if you walk into her office, you can count on having her full attention. Several teachers describe Mrs. Peterson as the best principal they’ve ever worked with and as someone who cares a great deal for the Magnet community.

A few AMHS teachers summed up how they feel about our principal:

“I have worked for many different bosses and in many different venues. I can honestly say that working for Ms. Peterson has been one of the best experiences of my life.  Her integrity, compassion, and willingness to respect me both as a person and as an employee make all the difference.  Ms. Peterson’s greatest strength — and she has so many — is that she makes all decisions from both her heart and head.  I have never felt as valued as a professional as I have working for her.  She respects my opinions, my judgment, and supports me in so many ways.  I am lucky to say that she was my principal and I will miss her dearly.” – Larissa Bortz

“Mrs. Peterson has helped me grow as an educator and has helped me focus more on the needs of students. We certainly will be a little less when she leaves us” – Gwen Hooffstetter

“She’s a great educator and caring. I learn from her not even being in the classroom. She’s just great and that sums it up because there are so many awesome things about her” – Officer Snipes

I’ve had many administrators and Ms. Peterson is hands-down the best. She respects and supports teachers as educators and as people. Her love for the students is unconditional.  How fortunate we are to have worked with her.” – Carol Hurt 

Then, I decided to ask some of the AMHS faculty and staff to share their favorite memories of Mrs. Peterson:

“Shortly after being hired by Ms. Peterson 6-years-ago, I arrived early one morning at the AMHS campus on the Old Navy Base. At that hour, the building was newly opened but still rather empty. After coming in from the parking lot and upon entering the long hallway, I saw Ms. Peterson a wee bit down the hall…with her shoes off and her socks on…attempting to slide over the newly polished floors. It was a magical moment and it still makes me smile” – Teresa Novinger

“It was with the class of 2012 and it was a shouting match over a parking space and they had to break up the two students and once it all cleared Mrs. Peterson just walked away, did a little jig, and said ‘I love my job, I love my job, something new happens every day'”- Nairobi Orr

“I remember one time the student council had a carnival in front of the school and there was a gigantic inflatable slide and for some reason Dr. Altman, Mrs. Peterson, and I thought it would be a good idea to slide down it and all three of us ended up with various injuries. It shows that Mrs. Peterson is fun loving, unpredictable, and will do anything for her students”- Mary Lankford

 We wish Mrs. Peterson the best of luck with whatever she ends up doing next year! We will miss you Mrs. Peterson!

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The student news site of Academic Magnet High School in North Charleston, South Carolina.
We Love Our Girl: A Farewell to Mrs. Peterson