Friday, May 20, 2022

Person of the Week

Peter Nye: Teaching, Learning, and Leading

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Peter Nye has made his mark on the Clinton community in many ways, most recently in being elected to the Board of Education. Photo courtesy of Peter Nye

Peter Nye has made his mark on the Clinton community in many ways, most recently in being elected to the Board of Education. (Photo courtesy of Peter Nye)

Not many teachers can say their start actually began at training camp for the New York Giants, but Peter Nye can. It’s a path that’s led him to become a very recognizable face around Clinton.

In 1999, Peter and his wife Valerie were looking for a new place to live.

“I was teaching in Milford so we wanted somewhere that was closer to both of us,” explains Peter.

They heard about a new at the time development in Clinton and decided to take a look.

“We came and took a look at it and the neighborhood and we loved it and it ended up being the perfect place to raise our kids. There was a lot of young families moving in,” says Peter.

Most recently, Peter has been in the news thanks to his election to the Board of Education (BOE) on Nov. 2.

“The amazing thing is a year ago at this time, I had no inclination toward running,” Peter says with a laugh.

Peter notes that his family was never apolitical—he has a brother who ran for State Senate and his family had been involved in politics in his hometown of Bristol—but he had never really given much thought himself of getting involved.

“I took over a spot in February after someone resigned and that seat was up for re-election this year, so I gave my pitch to the Republican Town Committee and then the voters chose me,” says Peter.

Besides his time on the BOE, peter has also served on the Morgan School Building Committee and was involved in the push to build a new Morgan School from 2012 to 2015.

However, Peter’s first involvement in town started when he got involved in the sports programs in town.

“I did volunteer to coach baseball and then I got involved with what was then called the Clinton Touchdown Club,” he says.

That led to Peter eventually rising to be the president of Clinton Youth Football.

“It’s a great organization full of parents who have a raised a ton of money to make sure our kids have the best football program we can,” says Peter

Peter says that he and his wife Valerie, who served on the Board of Finance, were motivated to get involved in the town after they had kids.

“We just decided to get involved because of our absolute dedication to our kids and making sure they had the best town and opportunities for them,” says Peter.

It’s a goal he says he thinks many other parents in Clinton share.

“The politics in Clinton I feel is more evolved than the national scene with all the vitriol and incendiary remarks. We’re all friends here and we all want what’s best for the town and our kids,” says Peter.

Peter is quick to point out that he and his wife aren’t the only people in town who feel that way. In fact, Peter says there’s many cases of parents who no longer have kids in sports or in the schools but remain committed to helping make the town as good as it can be, which is a trait he admires.

“I think that’s what makes the fabric of a community: people committed to serving altruistically,” says Peter.

Besides sports and politics, Peter still finds ways to get involved in different town events. Peter and several other neighbors on his road started a band called Rock Bottom that has been a staple at events at the Vece Gazebo, the Summerfest, the Clinton 350 celebration, and other community festivals and fundraisers throughout the town. It’s led to peter getting involved with a host of activities he never thought he would have.

“Whether it’s thanking people on the stage at the end of the fireworks every year or for the past few years at Christmas in Clinton when Jane Scully Welch lets me lead the Christmas carols, I don’t know if I had landed anywhere else but Clinton that that would have happened,” says Peter.

Peter isn’t only well known in Clinton, but also in neighboring Madison, too. Peter has been a teacher at Daniel Hand High School since 1999. He’s currently the chair of the Social Studies Department and teaches economics as well. Peter says he enjoys being a teacher because he gets to show kids the pragmatic real-world use of what they are learning in class.

“I also don’t dread spending time with the American teenager,” he says with a laugh. “They’re going to crack jokes, goof off, and try to get away with things, but they’re great to work with and help them learn new things that have real-world use.”

Peter’s journey to teaching had a slightly different beginning than most people. Peter, a former division three college football player, was invited to training camp with the New York Giants. Though he was only in camp for a short period of time, it had a lasting effect—Peter took note of the ball boys, equipment managers, and background people who are responsible for making camp run smoothly.

“I didn’t look down on them or take for granted I was there. They liked me because of the way I treated them,” recalls Peter.

The revelation led to Peter deciding that if football didn’t work out, he wanted to pursue a career that would allow him to be personable and interact with a lot people while also having a positive impact.

“I said, ‘If this doesn’t work out, teaching would be a great way to do that,’” Peter recalls.

In his spare time peter can be found golfing with his kids and spending time out on the water or in the area with his family.

“I think if you look at Clinton from the water, that is the quintessential New England town as far as I am concerned. You can have Nantucket or anywhere else, I think it’s Clinton,” says Peter.

Asked his favorite part of Clinton, Peter says, “I just think it’s cooler in Clinton. I think the people are down to earth. Nobody looks down on anyone, and I have great respect for people here.”


Eric O’Connell covers news for Clinton for Zip06. Email Eric at e.oconnell@shorepublishing.com.

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