She received a clock and bell in honor of her retirement during the Sept. 17 Patterson Joint Unified School District board meeting.
Peterson, known to her students as “Mrs. Petey,” joined the district in September 2002 as a half-time teacher at Del Puerto High School, teaching a variety of subjects to students in the afternoon academic program for high-risk students.
At the same time, she began teaching students on an hourly basis for the district's independent studies program.
“This is bittersweet,” Peterson said at the board meeting. “I’ll miss my colleagues and miss Patterson, but I will stay connected.”
Peterson became a full-time employee at Del Puerto High in the 2006-07 school year, teaching English, history and science.
Last year, she returned to the district's independent studies program as a full-time teacher working with 11th- and 12th-grade students.
Tonya Bibbins, principal of Del Puerto High, spoke of Peterson’s commitment to learning.
“Candace's passion has always been her students, and it showed in her dedication to them — the hours she spent refining her educational practices and the activities that she helped orchestrate for students,” Bibbins said. “Candace was instrumental in expanding the curriculum at Del Puerto High to include classes on criminal justice and science in society so that students could learn about the real-world applications for the academics that they were learning in their regular classes.”
Peterson spent several years working as a lawyer in Stanislaus County before beginning her teaching career.
She attended the Del Puerto High prom each year as a chaperone and helped with all aspects of the event, from the vote for king and queen to the setup and cleanup.
Bibbins added that co-workers and students would miss Peterson as she pursues her retirement plans, including serving on jury duty.