Peter Fishman (he/him) currently serves as Executive Vice President of Deans for Impact, which he helped to launch in 2015. For nearly twenty years, he has worked to reimagine teacher preparation and professional learning. While at NewSchools Venture Fund earlier in his career, he wrote the business plan for Leading Educators and managed Learning to Teach, a national initiative originally developed with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He has also consulted to national foundations, K-12 school systems, and support organizations. He began his career as a high school history teacher in Boston and has held roles at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Denver School of Science and Technology. He holds a doctorate in Education Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a BA from Yale University. Outside of work, he enjoys running, live music, and adventuring with his kids, Esmé and Caleb.
What compels you about DFI's mission of ensuring that every child has a well-prepared teacher?
Inequities exist throughout our education system. But children's day-to-day experiences within school are shaped more than any other factor by their relationships with educators and the everyday decisions that those educators make. It's in the context of those decisions where educators can nurture the brilliance and full humanity of children, or can cause harm and perpetuate inequities. Equipping beginning and early-career teachers with the ability to make equitable everyday decisions, informed by knowledge of how children's minds work, is essential.
What do you enjoy most about working at DFI?
Teaching and learning is deeply human work, and the amazing team at DFI tries to mirror internally the human-centered way in which we hope teachers show up for students; teacher-educators show up for future teachers; leaders show up for those they serve; and on and on. Cognitive science is one lens for thinking about this. But I appreciate that this team picks up multiple lenses to get to the same outcome: all kids thriving with support from well-prepared educators.
Describe a teacher or student who made a lasting impact in your life.
I had a student, Jamie, as both a sophomore and a senior, who passed away at 17, having battled cancer throughout her high school years. In the face of unspeakable pain, she radiated kindness and joy. And had an amazing, dry sense of humor and wisdom beyond her years. She modeled what it was to live with compassion and purpose.
What's a principle, philosophy, or quote you live by, and why?
Everyone is climbing their own mountain. Sometimes the mountain and the climb is visible to others; at other times, it's completely invisible. We can never fully know what other folks are going through. That's reason enough to be curious and not judgmental.