Click on the Alumnae’s name for a further details.

Leah Webster Peterson

Photo of Leah Webster Peterson
19082007 Birthday: 1908 Deceased: 2007
Biography

In 1939 Leah and her husband Chester arrived by steamer at Karluk village on Kodiak Island to accept teaching positions with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. They were the first teachers in the village for many years and as such were made very welcome. In 1941 they moved to Anchorage where she taught in the only school, Anchorage Territorial, as one of 43 teachers staffing all levels of education from elementary through senior high school. Leah remained in the Anchorage school system fulfilling 42 years of professional service as a classroom teacher, remedial reading specialist, supervisor, curriculum coordinator, elementary director and the first female principal in Alaska. She was teacher of the year in 1948.

Retirement didn’t stop Leah Peterson from public service. She served as the first president of Central Alaska Retired Teachers’ Association; president of the Alaska Retired Teachers’ Association; State Director of the National Retired Teachers’ Association; was appointed by the governor to serve on the State Board of Retirement, and was president of the Anchorage Schools Administrative Association.

For more than 30 years, Leah actively served on the Board of Trustees for Alaska Pacific University and was a member of the College Fellows, University of Alaska. She was worthy matron of Eastern Star (1052); member of Anchorage Woman’s Club and PEP Chapter P; state founder of Delta Kappa Gamma, Territory of Alaska, and an honorary member of Beta Gamma State, both national organizations for meritorious women educators. Leah was one of the 41 charter members of Zonta Club of Anchorage, founded in August 1961.

Leah received her teaching certification from Nazarene College in Idaho, bachelor’s degree from Colorado State College, and master’s degree from University of Alaska Anchorage. She returned to the Northwest Nazarene University after 73 years, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in recognition of her service to the profession of education, her community and society at large (2001), and then an Honorary Doctorate from Alaska Pacific University (2005).

Leah gave of herself, time after time, in service to the profession of education, her community and society at large. She brilliantly wove the story of her humble beginnings, hopes and dreams, and the impact education had on her life during college and throughout her life. In 2007, she made a generous gift to the new children’s gallery in the expansion of the Anchorage Museum at Rasumson Center. A special area, to be named Leah’s Corner, will feature an array of children’s literature and activities on Alaska topics in art, history and science.

Leah Peterson was a pioneer of education in Alaska, helping build an educational system from frontier instruction to a solid educational organization. She published, “This is Alaska”, a social science text and workbook for third and fourth grades that was adopted by the State of Alaska in 1959.

Leah devoted her life to the service of others. She remained young at heart while mentoring, counseling and attracting admirers of all ages.

Induction ceremony acceptance speech https://youtu.be/MpaoCOB1jX0

Notes

In 1939, Leah and her husband Chester arrived by steamer at Karluk village on Kodiak Island to accept teaching positions with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. They were the first teachers in the village for many years and as such were made very welcome.  In 1941 they moved to Anchorage where she taught in the only school, Anchorage Territorial, as one of 43 teachers staffing all levels of education from elementary through senior high school.

Leah remained in the Anchorage school system for 42 years, serving in many positions from classroom teacher to curriculum coordinator.  Leah was a passionate educator and eventually became the first female principal in Alaska.  Leah was voted Teacher of the Year in 1948. She published, “This is Alaska”, a social science text and workbook for third and fourth grades that was adopted by the State of Alaska in 1959.

Leah gave of herself, time after time, in service to the profession of education, her community and society at large.  After retirement, Leah continued in public service as president of a number of retired teachers’ associations, member of the State Board of Retirement and she was, for more than 30 years, on the Board of Trustees for Alaska Pacific University.

Leah was a pioneer of education in Alaska, helping build an educational system from frontier instruction to a solid educational organization.  She devoted her life to the service of others, remaining young at heart while mentoring, counseling and attracting admirers of all ages.

Induction ceremony acceptance speech https://youtu.be/MpaoCOB1jX0