Katia Petersen


Katia Petersen


Katia Petersen, PhD is an author and recognized training expert in school improvement strategies, and integration of social-emotional and academic learning. Her work includes leadership and staff coaching, student and teacher support, as well as parent engagement and community involvement. She has delivered professional development in schools nationwide and to date, Dr. Petersen has trained over 65,000 educators and thousands of parents to enhance school success. Katia utilizes collaborative dialogue to arrive at solutions and action plans with all stakeholders. She has been a visiting professor at the Stanford University School of Education (SUSE), and lecturer at the U of MN.

Katia served as the Chairwoman of the Minnesota Children’s Trust Fund for eight years, overseeing the funding of statewide programs to support children and families. Dr. Petersen has consulted on numerous publications and video projects, including “Scenes From a Shelter: Helping Children Cope With Domestic Violence” for Family Communications - Mr. Rogers Neighborhood; and “Stop Violence Against Women” a comprehensive report by the National Organization of Women (NOW) Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Dr. Petersen’s formative experience began in clinical environments with children ages 3–18 as a child psychotherapist where she developed family and child treatment programming using expressive therapies. Afterward, she changed focus from intervention to prevention and education. She was employed in the St. Paul (MN) Public Schools as a school psychologist and prevention specialist from 1990–2000, where she developed and implemented the Enhancing Student Well-Being Program in collaboration with the University of Minnesota, Educational Psychology Department.

Dr. Petersen is featured in a 14-part video series entitled Teaching Students to Get Along, distributed nationally as a distance-learning course through seven colleges and universities. She is the co-author of a book of the same title, released in fall 1995, rated #5 in the Top Ten Books of 1996 by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Teaching Students to Get Along staff development videos have won a Teacher’s Magazine, Teacher’s Choice: 1996 Excellence in the Classroom award.

Dr. Petersen created and implemented an innovative statewide program in Minnesota called The SafeTeam to prevent bullying and harassment while promoting student assets. In collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Education and KMSP-TV (UPN), the SafeTeam program delivered video, print materials and training to all 387 Minnesota school districts, including 500,000 K–6 students and 20,000 elementary school educators in 1000 Minnesota elementary schools. The program won both the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Best of the Best Children’s Television Award and the National Association of Broadcasters National Service to Children’s Television Award in Washington, DC.

The titles Dr. Petersen has authored or co-authored include:

  • Enhancing Student Well-Being Theme Series (Petersen Argo, Inc.)
  • Girls and Boys Getting Along (Minnesota Dept. of Education)
  • Teaching Students to Get Along (Canter/Laureate Education, Inc.)
  • On the Day You Were Born Creative Arts Curriculum (Minnesota Orchestra)
  • Reach for Your Dreams (Minnesota Dept. of Education)
  • Guardian Ad Litem Pre-Service Training Manual (Supreme Court of Minnesota)
  • Creating Safe and Caring Elementary Schools (National School Safety News Journal)
  • Safe & Caring Schools Series for PKK, Gr 1-2, Gr 3-5, Gr 6-8 (Free Spirit Publishing)
  • Bye Bye Bullies (National Theatre for Children)

Katia’s work focuses on systems change, collaborative processing of organizational needs, creative planning, conflict resolution and mediation. A skilled dialogue practitioner, Katia draws upon a wide range of emergent processes that support effective group work including: World Café, Theory U, and Appreciative Inquiry. Prior to becoming Executive Director of Education at IONS, Dr. Petersen had been serving as the Senior Educational Advisor to IONS' Worldview Explorations Project.

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