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Board Member

Sylvia Peters

Sylvia PetersMs. Sylvia Peters is well-known in Knoxville for her numerous national and local accomplishments, but especially for her lifelong work in education and her passion for the arts. She comes from a long line of educators.  After graduating from the National College of Education in Illinois and later from Roosevelt University she taught for years in Chicago while also being active in racial justice work.  It was during the early 1990s when she was principal of the Alexandre Dumas School in Chicago that she was invited to move to Knoxville to be a Founding Partner of the school reform initiative known as The Edison Project, which helped her work to transform public schools around the country.  She has also served on many national boards and was a founder and President of The Character Education Partnership, a DC organization. In addition to her work in education and racial justice, she and her husband Jan collect art.  She serves on the Knoxville Museum of Art board of trustees and worked tirelessly to lead Gathering Light: The Delaney Project, a collaborative initiative that brought together many local social, civic, and cultural organizations to celebrate the African American artist Beauford Delaney who was born in Knoxville and left in 1923 to study in Boston, New York, and Paris. He only returned to Knoxville three times to visit family. The initiative was successful because people from different backgrounds, religions, and races came together to understand and celebrate his life. We welcome Ms. Peters to the Board of Visitors for the Department of Religious Studies at UT and look forward to seeing how her lifetime of experiences will help shape our Department’s future.

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