About Mr. Pete

Mr. Pete and his kiddosDear Pete students and parents,

I can’t express to each and every one of you how incredibly pleased I am to be your fourth grade teacher at McKean Elementary! The voyage that I hope to lead you all on from August through June will be unique and exciting, and one we will share with the entire fourth grade team here at this outstanding school.

I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and extremely proud to say that the “Mistake on the Lake” is where I started this fantastic journey called life. I spent my formative years about a block away from Lake Erie living on the beaches and baseball fields in the summer; while sliding and diving through the lake effect snow during the winters. I lived and died with the Indians, Cavs, Buckeyes and Browns (although I’m a Steelers’ fan now, but that’s a story for another day, no thanks to Red Right 88).

When I was seven years old, I moved to McKean, PA, and became a student right here at McKean Elementary. I graduated from General McLane in 1989, and I’m a proud Lancers’ Alumni.

Cleveland is my hometown. McKean is my home.

I then attended THE Edinboro University, where I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Education. I’m proud to say that becoming a teacher was a journey however. I worked several jobs prior to becoming a teacher, including management at Wegmans. While I loved those experiences, being an educator is my true passion in life, and one that I truly felt a calling for. I earned being a teacher, the same way that I expect every student that walks into my classroom to earn their learning.

I moved to Raleigh, North Carolina in 2000 to begin my teaching career. I taught at a progressive public school called Partnership Elementary for ten years. The first three of those years were spent in third grade, before I moved to fifth grade for the next seven. I then changed schools the next year, and spent the next four-plus years at Herbert Akins Road Elementary. The first two were as a fourth grade teacher, and I’ve been in fifth until the day I headed back to Pennsylvania.

I’m married and have two beautiful children, who will be staying in Raleigh until we can sell our house. My wife Julie is also from Erie, PA, and we have been married for fourteen blissful years (really!). My two kiddos were both born in North Carolina. My son James is a sixth grader and just loves golfing, history and XBox. My daughter Maggie is a fifth grader and is a dedicated horse-rider, reader and pet-lover. There truly is no parent as proud of his kids as I am mine. I am thankful for my family on a daily basis, and can’t wait to see them wear the red-and-white of General McLane, just like good ole’ Dad. I am a story teller, so be ready to hear some stories about my family!!!

Part of that family are my pets. I have a crazy miniature schnauzer named Ava, who truly is more kid-than-dog. She just turned one, but is still all puppy. The wars between her and my kids are truly legendary and fun to watch. We also have a kitten named Sulu. He’s the oddest looking cat you will ever see, and he’s made Ava’s life a nightmare. They fight every second of every day.

How do I teach? Let’s just say that I love to “teach like my hair is on fire.” I will honestly do whatever it takes to make the fifth grade curriculum come alive for each and every child, and mapping out the year with my fourth grade teammates has been a fun experience. Our program will be second to none, and this will truly be an adventure you won’t soon forget.

Ms. Marnik and I are excited to be team teaching this year. She will be teaching the children Language Arts, while I’ll be tackling Math, Science and Social Studies. We’ll work closely throughout the year to ensure the best teaching practices, and will add to the culture already created by the amazing fourth grade teachers prior, and to Mr. Hutch and Mrs. Wismer.

This is a year of growing independence for your child as we begin to prepare them for the middle school experience at James W. Parker Middle. It’s all about integration and hands-on, real-life, authentic learning, where we’ll work hard every day, and have fun doing it. Your child will earn everything they get, I promise!!!

In a world of testing, we’ll weave our way through Pennsylvania and weather and fractions and ecosystems and electricity and a whole lot of other things by living and experiencing our learning. When it’s time for those PSSA’s and JWPMS, WE WILL BE READY!!!


Jim Pete
Room 19