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Harrison A. Peters chosen as Superintendent of Schools for Providence

The long-awaited search is over. Harrison A. Peters, a district schools chief in the Tampa, Florida area, will be named Superintendent of Schools for Providence on Monday, January 27th.

Currently serving as Chief of Schools, Hillsborough school district, the 8th largest school district in the US, Peters was a finalist in 2019 for Superintendent in Duval County and several out-of-Florida positions. In June of 2019 he was a candidate for Superintendent of Hillsborough County. He became one of seven finalists, and then one of two, and would have been their first black superintendent.

On June 21st, Hillsborough County announced the decision to hire Addison Davis as Superintendent.  Davis, who is white, was described in the Tribune as “a Republican who is not afraid to push back against excessive student testing and inadequate state funding”.

The Tampa Tribune had said “Harrison Peters is relatively new to the district, but in a high-profile job. He joined Hillsborough in 2016 as Chief of Schools after a career that stretched from Orlando to Charlotte, Chicago and Houston. Peters had direct oversight of the district’s principals. He has demonstrated a keen interest in struggling schools and communities — and also, a willingness to look around for career advancement.”

In 2018 he was a candidate for Superintendent in Omaha, Nebraska. In the Omaha World Herald, “I’ve done Chicago, I’ve done Houston, I’ve done Orlando,” he said. “We have been on an amazing journey, my wife, my two sons. What I shared with the (OPS) board is we’re looking for a destination. We’re looking to settle down, and we believe Omaha Public Schools is that destination.” He also made a commitment for his son to go to an Omaha public school.

The Herald continued, “In the past several years, Peters has applied for superintendent positions in Ascension Parish, Louisiana; Reno, Nevada; and Prince George’s County, Maryland. – He grew up in Florida and Texas, with his early years spent in a home marred by parental drug abuse and violence. He was a cut-up in school, but shined under the encouragement of a handful of teachers and coaches. He joined the U.S. Navy after a year of college, and eventually circled back to pursue a degree in education.”

In a 2018 video, Peters describes his challenges, how his own educational experience turned his life in a new direction, and his approach to education:

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