The Fairfield Township Board of Education is mourning the death of one of its members, Mattie K. Peterson, who died Oct. 13, surrounded by family at home. She was 42 years old.

A message on the board’s webpage states, “With a heavy heart, we regret to inform you of the passing of our beloved board member, Mrs. Mattie Peterson.”

Board President Darlington Henry Jr. confirmed her death via email, stating “I would like to say Mattie was one of the best board members I ever served with. She was there to serve the children and staff. Mattie gave it her all even with her being sick (with cancer). She will be missed and never forgotten.”

Michelle Kennedy, a field service representative at the New Jersey School Boards Association, served on the Fairfield board as president during Peterson’s tenure. “I had the privilege of serving with Mattie on the Fairfield Township Board of Education for eight years,” Kennedy said. “She was an invaluable board member, dedicated and committed to the academic needs of all students. Mattie’s servant leadership was inspirational and touched so many people. Her loss has been felt throughout our community and has tremendously impacted us.”

Peterson attended high school in Fairfield Township and then went to Cumberland Regional High School, where she was active in numerous clubs and activities. She graduated high school in 1997 with every intention of pursuing higher education. She was accepted at numerous schools but decided to attend Temple University in Philadelphia and proudly became an Owl. Following her graduation in 2002, she accepted a position at MBNA, which was later purchased by Bank of America, where climbing the corporate ladder seemed to be an easy progression. Understanding hard work and wanting to always look for the next opportunity, she was afforded just that as she moved on from Bank of America and accepted a position with JP Morgan Chase and Co. Working in a demanding banking environment wasn’t enough, so she pursued her MBA at the same time. She graduated from Goldey-Beacom College with the highest honors in 2018.

Peterson loved nothing more than spending time with her husband and children. They would often take vacations together or simply just have family events at the home. Her greatest joy was her family and making lasting memories with them through every picture, video and vacation. She was an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan, and on Sundays, you would find her rooting for her favorite team.

She also loved to sing karaoke, where her number one request would be “Poison” by Bel Biv DeVoe. She also loved playing board games with family and friends, which was guaranteed to bring out her super competitive nature. Her infectious smile and personality lit up any room.

In addition to serving on the Fairfield Township Board of Education, she was active throughout the community. She was a member of Glory Tabernacle Church, where she attended with her family. She also served on the board of Y-KNOT and helped plan events for her sorority, Zeta Phi Beta, Rho Rho Zeta Chapter. She also coached youth basketball and mentored young women.

According to the board of education’s webpage, Peterson was elected to the board in 2013 and served on its Finance and Student Life committees. The page further states that she lived in Fairfield Township with her husband, Mike, and their children, Deshaun and Aniah, who attended Fairfield Township School, and Michael Jr., who is a current student.

The New Jersey School Boards Associations expresses its condolences to the Peterson family and the entire Fairfield education community.