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Education Heroes: Peter Dodson

DodsonOnce a month, three top students at Lake Oswego High School are honored as academic all stars in the Review, and invariably at least one of them will say their favorite class is AP Calculus AB or BC — first- and second-year college-level courses that are arguably among the most difficult options available at the secondary level.

Many of the students say the man to credit for their love of high-level math is teacher Peter Dodson.

“If they were to say I was a good teacher, I’m just a reflection of the students in front of me,” Dodson said. “I have very strong, talented students. If anything, they push me to be a good teacher rather than me pushing them to be a good student.”

The 54-year-old, his physician wife, Lisa, and their two, now-grown sons, David and Jason, arrived in Lake Oswego in 1999 — also the year Dodson started teaching at LOHS.

“I really enjoy teaching; I really enjoy math, and if you take that combination with the talented kids, it just comes out great,” he said.

There’s one lesson above all he hopes they take in.

“Unequivocally, the most important thing to learn in any class, and my class isn’t any different, is how to think critically,” Dodson said.

Dodson, in fact, grew up in Lake Oswego, graduating from the school where he currently works. He has played tuba for and now wields a trombone in the Lake Oswego Millennium Concert Band, and the conductor, Dale Cleland, was one of Dodson’s teachers when he attended Lake Oswego Junior High. Dodson even met his wife of 33 years in Lake O, tugging on her ponytails back when they attended Lake Grove Elementary. She moved away in high school, and he didn’t see her for many years.

He attended Carleton College in Minnesota for a couple of years before returning to Oregon to attend Lewis & Clark College, receiving a bachelor’s in physics and reconnecting with his Lake Grove crush. He earned his master’s in engineering at Columbia University. He and his wife found themselves in Eastern Oregon where she was practicing, and, being talented in the ways of math and science, parents kept sending their kids to him for help with their homework. He found he liked offering that academic support. Soon he was teaching at Blue Mountain Community College in John Day, later landing a Master of Education from Lewis & Clark.

Now, he’s busy preparing other kids for college: “This is my life; this is what I do,” he said.

He loves it when former students stop by and tell him they feel comfortable with college math courses after taking his classes.

“That’s when I feel I’ve done something right,” Dodson said.

With this series, we’ll be spotlighting members of the educational community. To nominate someone, email Jillian Daley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




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