Most Interesting and Influencial 2006: Sharon Claytor Peters

President and CEO  of Michigan’s Children

     Sharon Claytor Peters has served for a decade as President and CEO of Michigan’s Children, a statewide, nonpartisan advocacy organization that acts independently of government funds as a policy voice for children.  In this position, she works with policy makers, organizations and agencies to promote policies and private/public partnerships that improve conditions for children and youth throughout the state.  Ms. Peters provides leadership for all of the projects of Michigan’s Children, and routinely presents in communities around the state about children’s issues and advocacy opportunities.  She has actively worked, as in the creation of the KidSpeak® project, to strengthen the advocacy voices of young people themselves.
     Ms. Peters has co-chaired and remains a leader in the Michigan Coalition of Children and Families, an advocacy coalition of some seventy child-focused private agencies.  She currently serves on the Advisory Boards of the Michigan Public Policy Institute, the Skillman Center for Children at Wayne State University, the Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending and several other professional organizations. 
      Ms. Peters’ civic involvement further demonstrates her commitment to children and community. She was elected to and served on the Lansing Board of Education from 1994-2000, serving as its President for two years.  In 1999, she was designated among the “100 Leaders for the Future” by the Lansing State Journal.  In 2001, she was named co-chair of the Lansing City Council’s Task Force on Racial Justice and received the 2002 Community Service Award from the Poverty and Social Reform Institute.  She serves in a variety of other community leadership positions and is on the Board of Directors of such organizations as the Michigan Political History Society, the Lansing Entertainment and Public Facilities Authority, and the Lansing Commission on Race and Diversity.
      Ms. Peters was formerly a legislative liaison for AAA Michigan. She also served as Assistant Secretary of State for Michigan, on the Speakers’ Policy Staff for the Michigan House of Representatives, and as Advocacy Director for the Michigan Consumers Council.
    A graduate of Michigan State University Honors College, Ms. Peters is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  She also holds a masters degree in Medical Anthropology from MSU, and formerly taught on the junior college level.  She is married to Dr. Melvin T. Peters, a college professor, and is the mother of three children, Troy, Shani, and Haile.