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Know The District


We might be a little biased, but we think the people who work for the
School District of Janesville are more than a  little AMAZING! And once you get to meet them, we think that you'll agree!

But SDJ has nearly 1,500 employees -- so getting to know each one would be just short of impossible.

In an effort to get you started, we present this story series titled "Know the District." Included here is a collection of question-and-answer profiles that feature SDJ staff members at facilities throughout the district. These include teachers, social workers, principals, paraprofessionals, counselors, directors, food service workers, IT people and other front-line folks whose commitment to students is integral in helping shape our leaders of tomorrow!

So check these out, and come back regularly for new additions!

Lisa PetersonLede

Lisa Peterson - Rock River Charter School

  • Position: Principal, Rock River Charter School; School District of Janesville Charter School Coordinator.
  • Hometown: Browntown, Wisconsin.
  • Education: Bachelor of Science, English, UW-La Crosse; Master's degree, Curriculum and Instruction, UW-Madison; Master's degree, Educational Leadership, Cardinal Stritch University; Doctorate degree, Philosophy, Cardinal Stritch Univeristy.
  • Awards and Honors: Herb Kohl Fellowship, 2005; All-USA Today Teacher, 2005.
  • Family: Husband, Tom; daughter Haley Peterson (Wilson Elementary School teacher); daughter Alyssa Peterson (special education teacher); daughter Kira Panzer; grandchildren, Lukah Byrd, Vivian Panzer and Felix Panzer. Boston terriers Roxy and Bella.

  • Can you offer a brief description of what you do for the School District of Janesville? I work to guide students for whom the comprehensive high school was not the correct educational learning environment. I try
    to help them find the right fit so they can fulfill their graduation requirements and launch a successful post-secondary plan.
  • Share something you find rewarding and something you find frustrating about being a principal. I find it rewarding when I see students who really struggle graduate. I find it frustrating when students don’t attend school.
  • What was the very first job you ever had? My first job was as a cook at the Pizza Hut in Monroe.
  • You have two hours of free time. What do you do? Play with my grandson, Lukah. He named me JuJu, and he loves to read books and play games.
  • Share the last good book you read or the last good film/TV show you watched? I loved “I Wish You Were There” by Jodi Picoult. It offered a great look at the Covid pandemic with a twist that kept me up late into the evening.
  • What were your favorite subjects in school? English and history. I wanted to double-major to teach both of those subjects. My high school guidance counselor talked me out of that plan, so I focused on English.
  • You have a fairly extensive collection of coffee mugs in your office. When did you start collecting them, and why? I started collecting the mugs because they were inexpensive souvenirs when I travel. That has morphed into family members picking me up a mug when they travel. Now I purposefully select my mug
    each morning to correspond with my outfit and mood.
  • Share something people would be surprised to find out about you. I love to play the board game “Catan.” My sister-in-law introduced us to it in 2018 during Thanksgiving. My favorite part is that no two games are ever the same, and that there is a little luck and a lot of strategy involved.
  • Share one item at the grocery store that goes into your cart whether you need it or not. Caramel with dark chocolate. A person can never, ever have too much of that!
  • If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Ireland. I have a little Irish in my background, and I am fascinated by Celtic culture. I have always wanted to travel there.
  • Who is your favorite Muppet? Snuffalupugus. He was the most imaginative and creative character. He was also loving and kind.
  • In your opinion, what is the most valuable characteristic to being an effective educator? The belief that all students can succeed.
  • You have a bell hanging in the lobby at Rock River Charter School. What is its purpose, and what does it symbolize? When a student completes graduation paperwork with his or her family, that student rings the bell. The bell symbolizes everything.
  • Name one person from history you would most like to meet. Martin Luther King Jr. His work served as the foundation of social justice work in the United States.
  • If you weren’t involved in education, what do you think you would be doing as a career? I have always wanted to be a teacher. As a little girl, my stuffed animals were my class, and my mom’s cookbooks were my texts. The surprise for me was going into administration. I did that because the changes I wanted for my students needed me to gain more systemic leverage. Thus, my second master’s degree.



Past Know the District Features