Clovis Unified's oldest teacher still going strong

FRESNO, Calif.

The district is home to a pair of 80-year-old teachers who work side-by-side in the classroom.

Teacher Tony Petersen is in a class all his own.

"I said I wanted to teach until I'm 80, but I want to go one more year," he said.

Mr. P, as his students call him, is Clovis Unified's oldest teacher.

He's been with the district 46 years, semi-retired once and came back to spend the last 12 teaching 6th graders at Century Elementary School.

"it's been great for me, I've lost over 50 pounds since I came back teaching, my health is better so it's been a good experience," Petersen said.

Petersen's age isn't the only thing that stands out. His work ethic is off the charts.

Everyday he and his wife Tina, who is one year older and serves as his teaching aide, arrive to school no later than 6:30 a.m. and spend the next 12 hours not only teaching but tutoring kids before and after class.

"I don't think he could do it without me," Tina Petersen said.

In his spare time, Mr. P serves as head coach of the boys' basketball team and can be seen on the sidelines at football games assisting the staff.

In 1997 he earned a spot in the Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame and in 2007 he was given the Community Hero award.

While Petersen says he plans to teach just one more year his wife isn't so sure he's ready to retire.

His students come back every year to say thank you - and they've become like members of their own family.

"We're like their grandparents or great grandparents," Tina Petersen said.

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