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A Public Servant With a Desire to Contribute to Excellent Education for All – by Peter Wright

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I am a person of action. Tolerating the status quo frustrates me, which
is one of the reasons I love to lead and am drawn to a career in public

service. Public servants are at their best when their ambition to

serve is fueled by dreams of a better world. The tomorrow I think about

is one where all schools are excellent.



I had the opportunity to make excellent education a reality for some

elementary school students during the two years I spent as a Teach For

America corps member in rural North Carolina. In my classroom the

day-to-day problems of my students – hunger, homelessness, and abuse -

were left at the door.



I did not join Teach For America to begin a career in teaching, but to

make the lives of the children I was teaching better while gaining an

inside perspective on how to fix our broken education system. I am now

seeking the graduate education and skills that will make me better able

to serve in elected office and share in the leadership of a university.

I wish to team-up with other education advocates to make excellent

education more accessible to all.



I enjoy life’s unpredictability. I discovered through a research

project I conducted as an undergraduate, which focused on the values and

ideals that motivate candidates for public office, that most elected

officials have great intentions to serve the constituents they

represent. However, the best qualified or those who are best able to

represent the needs of citizens do not always win elections. I found

the most successful public servants to be those who turn set-backs into

positive opportunities.



As an Executive Fellow in Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Office of

Homeland Security I was delighted to work every day with well-tested

veterans of public service. Having been helicoptered by the Capital

Fellowship to senior levels of State government I learned from people

who share my zeal for good government.



Part of my work in the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security included

staffing a national-level committee through the Office of the Director

of National Intelligence to establish information-sharing standards

through all levels of government, coordinating an international

cooperative exchange with Ukraine, and serving as a section lead on the

Office’s federal grant application, which supports California’s first

responders. With each project I grew more confidant in my decision to

make public service a career.



My work in the Governor’s Office also confirmed for me that in order to

reach my next level of effectiveness I need to continue my academic

education. I desire the knowledge and analytical skills necessary to

effectively evaluate and implement policy choices that shape our

country. I believe that having attained a Masters in Public

Administration at the University of Southern California and now pursuing

a doctorate degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara will

bring me a step closer to my ultimate goal: working in the public sector

to make excellent education possible for all children in America.


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