Spotlight: Peggy Yates

Spotlight highlights a National Charter Schools Institute team member. This month we highlight Peggy Yates.

Peggy Yates is an Associate with the National Charter Schools Institute. She grew up in Grand Blanc, Michigan, and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Michigan University, a Master of Arts degree from Oakland University, and an honorary doctorate degree from Baker College.

She worked at Fenton Area Public Schools for 13 years, where she was Superintendent. She also served as a high school assistant principal, principal, and curriculum director for Fenton Area Public Schools. Previously she taught English and Social Studies in Grand Blanc from 1976-1997, and before that, she taught at Holy Family in Grand Blanc for four years.

At the Institute, Ms. Yates helps draft new policy manuals and delivers board updates and guidelines. She has been with the Institute for over four years. Ms. Yates does great work representing the Institute and we asked her a few questions about herself for this newsletter.

If you had a magic wand and could change the education landscape in the United States what would you do?
Teachers are the heart of the whole educational system; therefore, I would bring better and more extensive training for teachers. It needs to be similar to the medical profession, where there would be a residency, then there would be ongoing professional development and built in support, so that everyone could enhance student achievement together.

Who was your favorite teacher what was your favorite class and why?
A U.S. history professor at Western Michigan University. She was able to make the subject matter dynamic by weaving the past and present together.

What book are you reading now?
The Long Walk. It is a story of seven escapees from a Soviet labor camp. They walked thousands of miles through Siberia, China, and the Gobi Desert, all to experience freedom.

Who was your hero?
Different people have an influence on different stages of life. Obviously my parents, they gave me everything I needed to stand on my two feet and they sacrificed so that I could get an education.

I had a high school assistant principal who was a mentor to me as a student and as a teacher. He was the principal when I taught at Grand Blanc.

And my husband is teaching me how to enjoy retirement.

How did you get started in charter schools?
When I was a superintendent we used the Institute for Excellence in Education professional development group. I was very impressed with their work and I got involved with the policy group of the National Charter School Institute.

Tell us something interesting about yourself.
My children live all over the country, and that creates a great opportunity to travel. We are currently traveling in South Carolina, where the sun is shining and the beach is calling!

I also volunteer as the President of the Friends of the Charlevoix Public Library. Our group just initiated a lifelong learning program for seniors. We are entering our third semester and we are excited about that!

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