LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Jo Ann Peterson

Position: Freshman Foundations Teacher
School: Twin Falls High School
School District: Twin Falls School District
City, State: Twin Falls, ID

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Jo Ann Peterson was nominated by her daughter.

Mrs. Peterson is a hard-working, dedicated teacher who truly cares about all human beings. She provides her students with love and support and exemplifies what it means to be a caring person and leader.

Mrs. Peterson's roots have always been in caring for people and promoting education. She grew up within a family where education was very important. Her dad helped start the College of Eastern Idaho. Her mom was a Title 1 reading specialist in Pocatello, ID. Both of her parents were very proud of her and what she has accomplished in her life. She is a natural teacher. Mrs. Peterson was encouraged to become a teacher by her father. She started teaching eight grade in Twin Falls, ID. The students loved her. She made learning fun and meaningful. She saw each student and helped them find their purpose in life.

As Mrs. Peterson's life started to change, she had to take a break from teaching so she could take care of her father, who was dying of cancer. During that time, she worked for School to Work, an organization that allowed teachers to tour various local businesses. On top of this, she was a mom with two kids. After her father passed away, she went back to teaching at the high school level. She was named Teacher of the Year during her first year back. She also won a grant for local teachers to have cable in their classrooms.

Mrs. Peterson helped many students with things such as getting into college, school work, relationships, and family problems. She was always there to lend a caring ear. While she worked at various schools, she was always on every committee she could, such as building leadership, student council, advisory, etc. She has been named teacher of the month several times, and the staff appreciate her commitment.

In her Freshman Foundations class, she focuses on teaching empathy and concern for others. She lets everyone have a voice and to make someone else’s life a little better. For 21 days, her freshmen smile and say something nice about their fellow classmates. She lets all of her students know they matter, and they are glad to be in her class.

"Many of us go through life just existing, but not Jo Ann. She is one person who makes a difference in so many people’s lives," said her daughter. "She found my dream career for me. I am the college and career adviser and work-based learning coordinator at an alternative high school in Twin Falls, ID. I can honestly say that if it wasn't for her, I would not be making such a difference in helping students find their purpose."