Mary Peterson co-leads the Region 15 Comprehensive Center (R15 CC) at WestEd, which serves the states of Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah. She provides strategic and conceptual leadership for the center, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education to provide capacity-building technical assistance and support to state educational agencies in the region.
Prior to joining WestEd in 2006, Peterson was Statewide Director of Teacher Education, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Dean of Faculty at Sierra Nevada College. From 1994 to 2001, she served as Nevada’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. Peterson served on the Board of Directors of the Council of Chief State School Officers and WestEd. She also was a State Commissioner to the Education Commission of the States. She began her career teaching junior and senior high school English and was principal of a small, private K–8 school in a rural setting.
Peterson received a BA in English from Carleton College, an MA in teaching from Duke University, and an honorary doctorate from Sierra Nevada College. Her education also includes doctoral studies in educational administration and cultural foundations of education from the University of Utah, where she was inducted into the graduate Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.