Meet Jeff Peterson, 2004 Teacher on the Trail™
View Jeff’s lessons and messages from the Trail at this link.
On Monday, April 7, 2003 - Jeffrey M. Peterson, a fourth grade teacher at Wilshire Park Elementary School in St. Anthony, Minnesota, was notified that he had been selected as the Iditarod Teacher on the Trail for 2004. Jeff is the sixth Teacher on the Trail™ and is the first male to be appointed to the position.
Jeff was one of three finalists invited to visit Alaska during the 2003 Iditarod. While there, he was interviewed by members of a selection committee and gave a presentation to the educators attending the Iditarod’s annual teachers workshop.
In March of next year, Peterson will be traveling along the trail, equipped with a laptop computer and a digital camera and will be transmitting reports, suggested classroom activities, as well as photographs to the Iditarod Trail Committee’s (ITC’s) website (www.iditarod.com). More than 5,000 elementary, middle and high schools around the world follow the race via the website each year with more joining each year.
Jeff is married to Sara and their first child, Ellie, was born in September.
Click here to read an article about Jeff. (From Vern Halter’s Dream a Dream website.) Article reprinted below.
Jeff Peterson, 2004 Teacher on the Trail
For most of the school year, Jeff Peterson’s fourth-grade classroom is like any other: desks, computer labs, recess and dogs eating homework.But for the past ten days, Peterson has brought over 5,000 students into perhaps the largest classroom ever constructed. The classroom is the state of Alaska, and his syllabus is the Iditarod.Peterson is the 2004 Wells Fargo Teacher on the Trail, the first male teacher chosen for the honor. He has traveled the Iditarod Trail via small plane since the race start on March 7, hopping into checkpoints and logging stories and lesson plans daily via the Internet (www.iditarod.com). Peterson’s regular classroom is at Wilshire Park Elementary in St. Anthony, Minnesota.”It’s been incredible getting to know the volunteers along the trail and seeing the amount of work they do,” explained Peterson during a break Tuesday afternoon on Nome’s Front Street. “Seeing the effort they make, and then also seeing the results of their hard work here in Nome is really something.”Peterson was selected from three finalists in April 2003, and planned his trip of a lifetime for nearly a year. However, he has been interested in the Iditarod since 1991, and started incorporating the race into his curriculum when he began teaching in 1998.”I’m a dog lover!” he exclaimed. “I even have a dog that’s been on the Iditarod.” About three years ago, Peterson acquired Paris, one of three-time Iditarod champion Jeff King’s former dogs. The eleven year-old Paris has been a great connection for Peterson to the race he loves so much. “I just called him up and asked for a dog,” Peterson says of King. “I didn’t think it would be possible.”What do the kids want to know about Peterson while he’s on the trail?”Most of the questions have to do with how cold it is up here,” he said. “Kids are really into extremes. I get those questions, then I also get kids asking if I’ve seen or been attacked by a grizzly bear.”While Peterson hasn’t seen any bears so far on the trail, he’s seen just about everything else. “I’ll have a lot of stories to tell when I get home,” he said.Peterson is quick to mention how impressed he is with everyone associated with the Iditarod. “It’s amazing what a group of diverse people can do if they have a common goal. The teamwork and the hospitality that people provide toward this goal is something to see. Really, this attitude can be transferred to anything in life.”"I want to thank Wells Fargo for this,” he adds. “Without them, this program wouldn’t exist and I wouldn’t be able to do this for the kids. It’s an amazing opportunity.”
By Greg Latza
After the Trail…. Jeff Peterson
Jeff tells us, “I hope students learn how important it is to dream, and how difficult and rewarding it is to follow that dream.” Jeff continues to teach at Wilshire Park Elementary School and along with his responsibilities of his fourth grade students, Jeff is a football coach. While on the trail, Jeff enjoyed interacting with students and learning first hand cultural games common to the villages. Jeff remains impressed with those associated with the Iditarod. “It’s amazing what a group of diverse people can do if they have a common goal. The teamwork and the hospitality that people provide toward this goal is something to see. Really, this attitude can be transferred to anything in life.” (http://www.vernhalter.com) Jeff is a member of the Teacher on the TrailTM selection committee.