Speakers & Experts


George J. Petersen, Ph.D.
Professor and Dean, Graduate School of Education

Email: gjpeters@callutheran.edu
Phone: (805) 493-3419


Dr. George J. Petersen has been a public school teacher, administrator and university faculty member. Currently, he is Dean and Professor in the Graduate School of Education at California Lutheran University. Prior to this appointment, he was a Professor of Educational Leadership,  Chair of the Department of Graduate Studies at the California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo and Co-Director of the University of California Santa Barbara and Cal Poly Joint Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership.

Dr. Petersen is the author or co-author of three books and over 100 book chapters, professional articles, research papers, monographs and commissioned reports. Much of Dr. Petersen's scholarly work has focused on the executive leadership of district superintendents, their beliefs, roles, and work in the area of instructional leadership and policy. Dr. Petersen's work has been widely published and is internationally recognized for its quality and impact.

In recognition of his scholarship and service to the field, he was the winner of the University of California Santa Barbara's Gevirtz School of Education Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008. As a faculty member at the University of Missouri-Columbia, he was awarded the Excellence in Teaching award every year from 1998 to 2004. From 2007 to 2010, Dr. Petersen was a finalist for both the Outstanding Teaching and Distinguished Scholarship Awards at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. As a public school teacher he was the recipient of the Sallie Mae Outstanding Teaching Award in 1987. The Sallie Mae Award is a national award given to the top 100 teachers in the United States.

Dr. Petersen earned his M.A and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Organizations and Policy from the University of California Santa Barbara. He has held faculty and administrative positions at the University of Evansville, Indiana, Bowling Green State University, Ohio, the University of Missouri-Columbia, and California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo. From 2000-2004, he also served as the Associate Director of University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA).



  • "The American School Superintendent: 2010 Decennial Study"

    Dr. Petersen discusses his research on the American school superintendent that served as an extension of a national study of school district superintendents that began in the 1920s. Sponsored by the American Association of School Administrators, the research was conducted in late 2009 and early 2010 in collaboration with Theodore J. Kowalski, Robert S. McCord, I. Phillip Young and Noelle M. Ellerson. The study, released in December, 2010, reveals dissimilarities associated with the challenges faced by superintendents in very small to very large school systems. As findings in this and previous national studies establish, the job-related experiences of superintendents are not homogeneous.

  • "Statewide Investigation of California District Leaders Perception of Forces that Complicate Efforts to Succeed"

    Dr. Petersen discusses his statewide investigation on California school superintendents. The study conducted in 2009 reveal challenges faced by superintendents in very small to very large school systems as well as the experiences of superintendents are at times tenuous, but in general, superintendents find the work rewarding and professionally enjoyable.

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