CLEMSON — George J. Petersen of Thousand Oaks, California, a leader in academia for the past 24 years, has been named the founding dean of the Eugene T. Moore School of Education at Clemson University. Presently the dean of the Graduate School of Education at California Lutheran University, he will begin his new role July 14.

“We are pleased to have found a proven leader in Dr. Petersen to oversee the strategic development of the Moore School of Education,” said Clemson University President James P. Clements. “Like Gene Moore himself, he understands our mission is to prepare excellent teachers and school leaders, and to make a much-needed positive impact on K-12 education in South Carolina.”

George J. Peterson

George J. Petersen

Since 2010, Petersen has been chief academic and financial officer of the Graduate School of Education. Previously, he was co-director for the joint doctoral program in educational leadership for three years, serving as the liaison between California Polytechnic State University and University of California, Santa Barbara. From 2005 to 2007, he was chairman of Cal Poly’s College of Education graduate studies department.

He is a member of the WestEd board of directors and a member of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education’s committee on research and dissemination.

“My family and I are excited about this opportunity with Clemson University,” said Petersen. “It is truly an honor to be chosen as the Moore School of Education’s founding dean. Clemson is internationally recognized for excellence and innovation.

“I look forward to working with our students, faculty and staff to continue to prepare culturally competent scholar practitioners to serve the educational, social, economic, emotional, physical health and professional needs of the citizens of South Carolina, the nation and the world.”

Clemson’s School of Education is named for an alumnus, the late Eugene T. Moore of Lake City.

His daughter and Clemson benefactor Darla Moore said, “I am very excited about the selection of George Petersen as the new dean of the Eugene T. Moore School of Education at Clemson. I believe he has the background and skills necessary to bring an innovative new focus and energy to preparing teachers graduating from Clemson University to be the very best in the nation.

“With education being the gateway to good jobs and a better quality of life in South Carolina, quality teachers are the lynchpin tying together all of our efforts to vigorously compete in the global economy,” she said. “I look forward to Dean Petersen leading the effort at the Moore School of Education to meet such a challenge.”

Petersen earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (Cum Laude) in philosophy from Pontifica Studiorum Universitas A.S. Thomas AQ in Rome, Italy. He received a Bachelor of Arts in cultural anthropology and a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in educational policy, organizations and leadership studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Early in his career, he was a teaching supervisor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Graduate School of Education (1990-92). He was the director of secondary education for the University of Evansville (Indiana) School of Education in 1993-95.

Later, he was doctoral program coordinator for the statewide cooperative doctoral program in educational leadership with Missouri State University and the University of Missouri-Columbia. Petersen also was a tenured professor at UM-C, a land-grant, research institution. He was associate director of the University Council for Educational Administration, a national research and policy organization, with UM-C.

Working within schools and colleges of education, Petersen also has taught education and educational leadership throughout his career. He began his career as a social studies teacher. The American Association of School Administrators named him one of 100 Outstanding First Year Teachers.

Petersen has won numerous awards for excellence in education, including Education Professor of the Year (Association of California School Administrators, Region XIII, 2008), Distinguished Faculty Award (Department of Career Services Cal Poly, 2007), Distinguished Alumni Award (Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2008) and Distinguished Service Award (University Council for Educational Administration, 2004).

He is the author or co-author of three books and more than 100 chapters, articles and/or papers.

Coming to Clemson with Petersen are his wife, Jennifer, and sons Elijah and Jacob.


Eugene T. Moore School of Education
Clemson University’s Eugene T. Moore School of Education enrolls approximately 600 undergraduate and 600 graduate students, housing state and nationally recognized programs and centers, including Call Me MISTER, the Charles H. Houston Center for the Study of the Black Experience in Education, Reading Recovery, and the Center of Excellence in Inquiry in Mathematics and Science.

Clemson University
Ranked No. 21 among national public universities, Clemson University is a major, land-grant, science- and engineering-oriented research university that maintains a strong commitment to teaching and student success. Clemson is an inclusive, student-centered community characterized by high academic standards, a culture of collaboration, school spirit and a competitive drive to excel.