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Getting to Know Superintendent Peter Ansingh

I would like to begin by thanking you all for the warm welcome to West Des Moines and to the WDMCS. I hope to meet more of you as the school year progresses. Until then please let me share a little bit about myself.

As I have been able to share with some you, I claim to be a Dutchman; my family immigrated to this country when I was four years old. I grew up in the Seattle area and attended Pacific Lutheran University intending to follow in my father’s footsteps as a physician. That was not to be; I finished my four years with a new-found faith in Christ and a degree in chemistry.  I then went off to the University of Wyoming to pursue what I thought would be a career in petroleum engineering. After a couple of months in classes like muds and drilling, I walked over to the College of Education and asked what I needed to do to become a teacher. I finished the requirements for a teaching certificate and a master’s degree in chemistry.

I returned to Washington to be near family and took a teaching job in a small K-8 school district. Through a number of interesting circumstances I became the superintendent of the district after just my second year of teaching. So that I might gain better knowledge and skills to be a leader, I started a doctoral program at Seattle University. I stayed in that district for four more years before serving six years as superintendent of a small K-12 district with about 700 students on the other side of the state.

For the past 20 years I have served the West Valley community in Yakima, Wash., as their superintendent. During that time, the district grew from 3,400 students to 5,000 students, four schools were remodeled and three new schools were added, and the demographics of the community changed.

My wife, Pam, is also in public education having most recently served as an assistant superintendent for curriculum before she returned to school. She is in her final year of a doctoral program, also at Seattle University. She currently works for a non-profit that operates Head Start programs over a large geographical area in Eastern Washington. We have five children between us who are successfully launched for the time being. After my 32 years in public education in Washington state, 30 as a superintendent, Pam and I are both looking for a new adventure in our lives. We feel absolutely blessed to have been chosen to serve the WDMCS.

In the next Informaline, I will share with you what I have learned about the challenges and opportunities I have identified after my brief two months on the job.

Best Wishes,

Dr. Peter Ansingh

Topics: Education

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