Ross Peters is a Senior Consultant for AAL: The Academy for Advancing Leadership. He focuses on Independent Schools and their national and regional associations in the areas of strategic planning, change management, board practice, and curriculum development. His extensive background in these areas also prepares him to serve in higher educational and professional educational settings as well.
Prior to his role at AAL, Ross had a number of titles: Head Tennis Coach, Mountaineering Staff Member, Department Chair, Dean of Faculty, Assistant Head for Academic Affairs, Upper School Head, and Head of School. He derived his understanding of how a school should work and what leadership should look like from the classroom out, building his understanding of a school one) from the powerful relationships built with students in classrooms where high expectations and nurture are symbiotic and two) from the example of extraordinary school leaders who modeled servant leadership molded to the demanding environment of an independent school.
Growing up in Richmond, Virginia, Ross was a thirteen-year graduate of St. Christopher’s School. From there he went to Sewanee: The University of the South (B.A., English), followed, after six years teaching at Providence Day School, with an M.Ed from the University of Georgia. While deeply appreciative of the remarkable gift of education he received at every level, his best learning has resulted from being an educator working with students whether as a classroom teacher or as a school leader.
At the core of his belief in the value of an independent school is this idea: in order to create the education our students need and deserve, schools must mirror the qualities we demand of those we teach; thus, our learning curve should remain steep and our dedication to holding up the values we name as most important should be unwavering. This commitment to match the expectations we have for students in the way we think, act, work together as an institution guides his work in leadership, and it has allowed him to play a significant and lasting role in several outstanding schools.
Since his eight years at Providence Day School in Charlotte, NC, he has made an impact as a teacher and administrator in a fascinating range of schools. From founding an integrated Humanities Department to establishing an Honor System at a small, hundred-year-old boarding school (Asheville School), and from reinventing the use of time to creating an urban campus in two schools ready for significant innovation (Hawken School and The Westminster Schools), Ross has had the chance to immerse himself in strategic and aligned school cultures to a degree that has allowed him to help those remarkable places move forward within the context of their mission and culture. At St. George’s Independent School, he mobilized that experience to help a younger school maintain the forward-thinking qualities that make it unique in Memphis.
Ross is active in the Memphis Community and beyond. He currently serves on two Boards—the Tennessee Association of Independent Schools, and the National Association of Independent Schools. He is a former Board member of Bridges USA, which operates from the belief that “great leaders, regardless of age, must appreciate diversity, lean into courageous conversations, and build bridges across deep philosophical and physical divides.” He and his wife Katie also serve as members of the Family Partners Council at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital where their daughter, Eleanor was first diagnosed as a Type I Diabetic. Katie (Ph.D., Emory University, Religious Studies) teaches at Rhodes College. His interests include hiking, travel, photography, and mediocre guitar picking.
A widely published poet, he has completed work on a collection of poetry entitled, The Flood is Not the River, and he has provided the foreword and over one hundred photographs for a book entitled, Sacred Views: St. Francis and the Sacro Monte di Orta due out in the next year from Punctum Press.
You can find his thoughts on education, as well as anything else he might be thinking about, on his blog—Ross All Over the Map.
A long time ago he had hair: