Co-Founder of MCEL
Harrison Peters, former Superintendent of Providence Public School District and Co-Founder of MCEL. His drive for education was sparked by one 10th grade teacher who said he was not college material and another who said, “I love you, I believe in you, and I refuse to allow you to fail.” He learned then that what we tell our children absolutely matters. Harrison grew up in Pensacola, Florida. He was raised by his grandmother, who had only a 2nd grade education. As a result, he was completely dependent upon caring teachers to help him reach his academic potential. That’s why, for nearly two decades, Harrison has been fighting for children across the country.
He began his career as a 4th and 5th grade teacher in Apopka, Florida. Since that formative time in the classroom, he served in many leadership roles (including Dean of Students, Assistant Principal, Principal, Assistant Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, and Chief of Schools) before being named to his current role. His work in large complex school districts, including Charlotte Mecklenburg, Chicago Public, Houston Independent, and Hillsborough County (Tampa), afforded him the opportunities and challenges of transforming some of the toughest schools in the country. He brought those experiences to bear in his role in Providence, where the state has committed to a comprehensive effort to transform the city’s schools.
As Deputy Superintendent-Chief of Schools for Hillsborough County Schools, he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the district’s 250 schools that educate 220,000 students. His team of eight area superintendents, 850 administrators, and 15,000 teachers achieved record-breaking graduation rates, industry certifications, and college scholarships, as well as a significant reduction in the student achievement gap.
As Chief of Schools on the Southside of Chicago, Harrison was credited with significantly increasing ACT scores, 3rd grade reading, math proficiency, and graduation rates. As a Chief School Officer in Houston, he was part of the leadership team that led a majority vote in favor of a $1.9 billion bond, the largest in the history of the state. While in Houston, he was also awarded the “Outstanding Educator” award by Zeta Tau Lambda. A proud veteran of the United States Navy, Harrison served on the USS Cleveland.
Harrison earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of West Florida in Elementary Education. He earned a master’s degree in Education Leadership from Nova South Eastern University and a Specialist’s Degree in School Transformation from the University of South Florida. Harrison and his wife Tarneisha have two sons, Devin and Kenneth. With student success as his “north star,” Harrison is convinced that within every child lies an endless potential that, when given the right support, can produce extraordinary results.