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About Peter Alter

Peter Alter is a Professor of Special Education and the former Chair of the Teacher Education Department (2017-2020). He has been at Saint Mary’s College of California since 2011. Peter originally received his doctorate from the University of Florida and his key areas of interest are effective instruction for diverse learners, classroom and behavior management, positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS), and effective teacher preparation. Peter most recently funded an $8 million grant, in partnership with the University of Kansas from the U.S. Department of Education to expand a program known as the Class-Wide Function-related Intervention Teams or CW-FIT program. He was the co-editor of Beyond Behavior, the practitioner journal of the Council for Children with Behavior Disorders from 2010-2013.  He has 26 publications including a co-authored textbook Managing Classroom Behavior Using Positive Behavior Supports. In addition, Peter has made over 35 research presentations at state and national and international conferences and he has conducted over 75 teacher-training workshops nationally and internationally.


2011 - Present Faculty Member, Saint Mary's College of California Kalmanovitz School of Education
2011 - Present Faculty Member, Saint Mary's College of California Special Education Program

Curriculum Vitae


2016 - Present Co- Project Director (co-PD) Co-PDs Drs. Fitzgerald & Spencer
California Commission on Teaching Grant
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Professional Service and Affiliations

1997 - 2003 Teacher-Self-Contained Emotional /Behavior Disorders, Clay and Duval County School Board
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Honors and Awards

  • Nominated as a Faculty Favorite for academic years from 2008-2010
  • Carl Fenichel Memorial Research Award - Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders (May 2006)
  • National award from the Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders division of the Council for Exceptional Children for the outstanding dissertation in the area of emotional or behavioral disorders.


  • SPED 230/ 291 Introduction to Inclusive Education
  • SPED 233 Behavioral Supports in the Learning Environment
  • SPED 282A Positive Behavior Support I
  • SPED 292 Best Practices for the Education Specialist: Introduction to Assessment, Curriculum and Case Management
  • SPED 294 Teaching and Learning for Mild/ Moderate Disabilities


2006 PhD, Doctor of Philosophy Special Education, University of Florida

Contact Information

School of Education » Special Education Program

SMC Email Address:

Contact Information:

Office: Filippi Academic Hall - FAH 277

Phone: 925-631-4850

Fax: 925-376-8379

Mail: P.O. Box 4350


Publications (20)

Presentations (76)