Petersen's tenure spanned the early retirement of former Superintendent Carol Whitehead, the hiring of Gary Cohn to replace her, a widely publicized scuffle among board members in 2011 that ended with police called to the scene and approval of a new $23.8 million school district administration building.
Petersen, 66, was appointed to the school board in 2006 and won election to the board in November 2007. It's an at-large position for the district that includes Everett and Mill Creek and serves 18,700 students.
Petersen said he struggled with the decision over whether to run for another term. "I am enjoying what I'm doing very much," he said.
Petersen did not formally announce his decision, but quietly informed board members of his decision over the past month.
"I know it was a hard decision for him," said board member Carol Andrews. "I'm sad to see him go. He's really guided the district in so many positive ways."
Jeff Russell, school board president, said that Petersen's work as chief executive of Housing Hope, a nonprofit affordable housing project, provided an important point of view to school board discussions.
"To have his perspective about poverty and his passion for partnership has really been a benefit to the board," Russell said.
Petersen said school district plans adopted in 2011 expanded the district's educational approach beyond the traditional kindergarten through 12th grade to helping students prepare for their futures beyond graduation.
Joint training has also been initiated between preschool teachers and kindergarten, first, second and third grade teachers, he said.
Petersen has worked to expand the Rotary Club of Everett's involvement in the school district. Through its Next Generation program, the club will donate $200,000 over four years to help low-income, minority students, or students who would be the first in their family to attend college.
The school district's new administration building, scheduled to open in October, is designed to serve the needs of the school district while doubling as meeting space for community groups, Petersen said.
The building, near the corner of Broadway and 41st Street SE, replaces two buildings which have been labeled energy hogs, with one that is designed to be extremely energy efficient, he said.
Petersen said that stepping down from the school board will allow him to spend more time both with Housing Hope and a second nonprofit created by the organization to help low-income adults prepare for jobs and careers.
It will also allow him to make more frequent trips to Puerto Rico to work on a Rotary Club project, he said.
Petersen will leave the school board in December.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Candidates are filing to run for office in 179 races throughout Snohomish County and 72 offices in Island County. The deadline to file is 5 p.m. today in Snohomish County and 4 p.m. in Island County. This year's primary is Aug. 6 and the general election is Nov. 5.
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