After four years as a standout student-athlete at Los Altos High in the 1990s, Peter Bjorklund returned to his alma mater as a history teacher for seven years. After leaving in 2014, he’s back in the classroom – this time as a student.
A football, basketball and track and field standout for the Eagles from 1995 to 1999, Bjorklund is pursuing a doctorate in education studies at UC San Diego. He is in his fifth and final year of the program and expects to graduate in December.
“I focus on relationships between teachers and their colleagues, as well as students and teachers,” the Los Altos native said.
The research allows Bjorklund to determine factors such as trust and sense of belonging in a classroom setting. Once he graduates, Bjorklund hopes to implement his research in the classroom to help students and teachers reach their highest educational goals.
“If students and teachers feel like they’re valued and belong in the space, then they’re going to be more effective, want to be there and learn in the space,” said Bjorklund, adding that he received a post-doctoral offer from UCSD but instead plans to return to teaching at the high school level.
Outside of his studies, Bjorklund said he enjoys spending time with his wife and 2-year-old twins. Although he’s no longer physically involved in sports, Bjorklund still watches games when he can – particularly his favorite pro baseball (San Francisco Giants) and soccer (Chelsea F.C.) teams, along with college football. Additionally, Bjorklund said he stays active by working out frequently.
A man of many seasons
Bjorklund began his high school athletic career on the football field for the Eagles in 1995, when he met some of his closest friends, many of whom he stays in contact with. Although they had some rough seasons, the two-way lineman said they did make the Central Coast Section playoffs in 1998 – one of his favorite high school memories.
After playing center for the basketball team during the winter season, Bjorklund transitioned to track and field in the spring. The Eagles were a powerhouse track team at the time.
“We were good,” Bjorklund recalled. “A lot of people went out for track and field and there was a certain reverence for it at the school, which made it fun to be a part of.”
As an individual, Bjorklund won CCS in the shot put three years in a row (1997-1999) and was also the section champ in the discus his senior year. He was the third Eagle to win both of those events in the same year, following future NFL defensive lineman Willie Howard in 1995 and Chris Adams in 1970.
After high school, Bjorklund attended Dartmouth College and the College of San Mateo before transferring to Occidental College to pursue a bachelor’s degree in history, as well as continue his football and track careers.
“I started to play football, but I ended up needing back surgery,” Bjorklund said. “I had a spinal fusion to repair a cracked vertebra, which ended football, but I was able to continue track and field.”
After finishing out his college sports career, Bjorklund coached track at Los Altos for one season before transitioning into his teaching job. He said he looks forward to coaching his children in the future should they choose to partake in athletics.