Professor Tonya Peterson joined the Olivet faculty at the start of the 2020-2021 academic year after spending fourteen years in the K-8 public education setting.
She graduated summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Illinois State University in 1999, earning several academic scholarships, such as the University Scholar Program and the College of Education Alumni Award. She also earned the Resident Assistant of the Year award from the Office of Residential Life. She was also a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society and Kappa Delta Pi, as well as the Student Education Association.
Professor Peterson taught in two different districts in the far west suburbs of Chicago for over a decade. During that time, she served on the School Improvement Team, the Building Leadership Team, and trained all new 5th grade teachers district-wide in the area of mathematics instruction. She was also instrumental in the research, development, and implementation of a standards-based report card.
Professor Peterson subsequently spent four years as the principal of a K-8 building, where students, staff, and administration collectively earned the Illinois State Board of Education distinction of "Exemplary School." This designation is obtained by the top 10% of schools in the state. She has mentored many clinical students, student teachers, and new teachers during her time in schools. During her years as a teacher, Professor Peterson was a member of the Illinois Education Association, the National Education Association, and the American Federation of Teachers. She was also a part of the Illinois Principal's Association.
During her career in education, Professor Peterson earned two master’s degrees, beginning with a Master of Science in Special Education from Northern Illinois University in 2013, which resulted in an LBSI endorsement, and followed by a Master of Science in Educational Leadership and Administration from the University of St. Francis in 2017, which led to a Principal Preparation endorsement.
Outside of school, Professor Peterson loves to spend time with her two daughters and her husband, who is also an educator. As a family, they enjoy traveling to new states with the goal of seeing all 50 states in their lifetime. She also enjoys hiking, reading, gardening, and baking.