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Sue Peters

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Sue Peters
Sue Peters.jpg
Seattle Public Schools, District 4
Term ends
November 2017
Years in position 2
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
First electedNovember 5, 2013
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sUniversity of California-San Diego
Master'sStanford University
Campaign website
Sue Peters campaign logo
Sue Peters represents District 4 on the Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors in Washington. She was first elected to the board in 2013.


Peters earned a B.A. in Literature and Writing from the University of California-San Diego. She later earned an M.A. in Communications from Stanford University. Peters helped found educational groups Parents Across America and the Seattle Math Coalition. She is a journalist who has contributed to publications like Seattle Weekly, Huffington Post and Salon.[1]



See also: Seattle Public Schools elections (2013)


Peters faced Suzanne Dale Estey on November 5, 2013.

Election results

General election
Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors, General election, District 4, Four-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngSue Peters 54.8% 92,552
     Nonpartisan Suzanne Dale Estey 44.8% 75,758
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.4% 642
Total Votes 168,952
Source: King County Elections, "Certified Results," November 25, 2013

Peters finished second to Suzanne Dale Estey in the August 6, 2013 primary for District 4. She faced Estey in the November 5, 2013 general election.[2]

Seattle Board of Directors, Primary, District 4, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngSuzanne Dale Estey 47.8% 6,422
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngSue Peters 41.4% 5,560
     Nonpartisan Dean McColgan 10.9% 1,461
Total Votes 13,443
Source: King County Elections, "August 6, 2013 primary election results," August 20, 2013


Peters reported $41,600.87 in contributions and $27,115.76 in expenditures to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission, which left her campaign with $14,485.11 on hand.[3]


Peters's endorsements in 2013 included the following:[4]

Campaign themes


Peters detailed her themes for the 2013 campaign in a letter on her campaign website:[6]

"Learning from the experience of other states and nations, it is clear that the right direction is away from the current national obsession with high-stakes standardized testing, uniformity, overcrowded classrooms, antagonism toward professional teachers, and instead a move towards richer and solid curricula, creativity, collaboration, respect for the teaching profession and a dedication to promoting the joy of learning in our schools and all our children.

We need to foster a public education system that embraces and celebrates the individuality of all our children and facilitates their ability to reach their full potential, whether that be through the arts, sciences, mathematics, humanities, music, or all of the above.

We need to make fiscally responsible decisions that prioritize directing resources to the classroom."

Note: The above quote is from the candidate's website, which may include some typographical or spelling errors.

What was at stake?

Incumbent Betty Patu is seeking re-election without opposition in District 7. Districts 4 and 5 will have new members as incumbents Michael DeBell and Kay Smith-Blum did not file for re-election. Both districts held primaries on August 6, 2013 with the top two candidates in each district moving to the general election on November 5, 2013.


Influence of Great Seattle Schools PAC

Great Seattle Schools PAC attracted $100,405 in donations through mid-October 2013. The PAC ran a TV ad before the August 6 primary that portrayed Estey as a reformer and Peters as a supporter of existing board policies.[7] A report by KUOW found that land developer Matt Griffin donated $30,500 of total donations with smaller amounts from former Microsoft executive Christopher Larson and businessman Nick Hanauer. The PAC's fundraising totals are not limited by the $1,800 per cycle ceiling on direct contributions to candidates approved by the Washington State Legislature in 2012.[8]

Increased enrollment

The Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors confront strained resources and legal cases stemming from past abuses of students. The district experienced a 9.5% increase in enrollment between 2008 and 2012.[9] This enrollment increase coincides with declining money from the federal stimulus program as well as cuts to support services in recent budgets.[10] These issues played into disagreements between the district and the Seattle Education Association (SEA) over a new contract for teachers. On September 3, teachers voted to approve a two-year contract that increased pay by 2% and included test scores in teacher evaluations.[11]

Sexual abuse lawsuits

Another area of concern for the district is a series of lawsuits brought by six former and current students seeking damages totaling $29 million. These damages are related to instances of sexual abuse by former teacher Phil McGee as well as an incident where a student was convicted of sexual assault against another student.[12]

About the district

See also: Seattle Public Schools, Washington
Seattle Public Schools is located in King County, Washington
Seattle Public Schools is located in the City of Seattle in King County, Washington. The population of Seattle was 608,660 according to the 2010 U.S. Census.[13]


Seattle outperforms state averages for higher education achievement and median income while lagging behind in poverty levels. The percentage of city residents over 25 years old with undergraduate degrees (55.8%) exceeds the state average (31.4%). The 2010 U.S. Census calculated Seattle's median income at $61,856 while the state median income was $58,890. Seattle had a poverty rate of 13.2% in the 2010 U.S. Census while the state rate was 12.5%.[13]

Racial Demographics, 2012[13]
Race Seattle (%) Washington (%)
White 69.5 77.3
Black or African American 7.9 3.6
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.8 1.5
Asian 13.8 7.2
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.4 0.6
Two or More Races 5.1 4.7
Hispanic or Latino 6.6 11.2

Presidential Voting Pattern[14]
Year Democratic Vote (%) Republican Vote (%)
2012 68.7 28.3
2008 70.0 28.0
2004 65.0 33.7
2000 60.0 34.4

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[15] This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.

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