Profile in Courage in Public Education: Ms. Susan Peters

Courage written in chalk on a blackboard with a heart for an O.

Susan Peters, Music Director, Hoquiam School District
Submitted by Dr. Mike Villarreal, Supt. Hoquiam School District

Susan Peters is a wonderful representative of passionate, compassionate teachers in our Educational Service District. And Hoquiam School District is proud to claim her as their own. In Hoquiam, Susan leads the band, choir, and jazz band!

Years ago, Susan put herself through college while caring for her parents. Now in her thirty-third year of teaching, Susan has found a final home in Hoquiam. She had worked in several school districts, some in the Capital Region ESD. However, her music positions were always dependent upon the school budget. That problem caused her to courageously move to seven districts in Washington and Idaho, each eventually closing a successful music program to balance the budget.

“I grow programs. That is what I do,” Susan says. “When I started at Shelton High School, they had 25 kids in music. When it grew to over 100 students, the principal said it was too big and closed it.

“Another high school principal asked me, ‘Which elementary school did I want to go to?’ My program had to be cut.” she said. So, it was on to another district.

Susan’s teaching philosophy is to involve the parents along with the students. “I give them a job to do. Soon, the whole family is a part of the program. They want to be involved!” Susan remarked, “Music programs are political organizations. They create pride.”

One offer to teach music came from Shanghai, China. After beginning her work there, however, she fell and seriously injured her face. A year of convalescing followed at home with her parents, and then she began to substitute locally until Hoquiam hired her.

Since her mother passed away, she has been caring for her father, who is currently in hospice. She fills her time teaching Concert and Jazz Band and caring for her father. Susan also adjudicates for schools in our ESD for concert, jazz, and marching bands. Finally, she was recently nominated as a Band Master of the Northwest, an exclusive organization led by Dr. Brad McDavid. Dr. McDavid is the Director of Athletic Bands at the University of Washington.

Thank you to Susan for being our Profile in Courage for September 2023. You have filled the lives of your students and their families with the gift of music!

Susan Peters (middle) with ESD 113 Superintendent Flip Herdon and ESD 113 Board Member Dr. Dale McDaniel.

Would you like to nominate someone for our Board of Directors to honor as a profile in courage?

  • Any employee, resident, volunteer, or student in one of the 44 school districts and one tribal school represented by Capital Region ESD 113 is eligible to submit candidates for consideration to [email protected].
  • Please keep submissions to 400 words or less. Photos are also welcome.
  • A small committee will review the applications. The Board Chair will read one selection each month prior to our Board meeting. In addition, that month’s submission will be prominently featured on our ESD 113 website.

Think about the heroes in your life who have done courageous things to support our students and staff members. We want to honor the wonderful role models who have been working in our public schools!