Educators’ Impact: Priceless

Peter Licata
School District Administrator
Attended 1986-1991, 1994-1995

Dr. Peter Licata grew up being told by his father not to follow in his footsteps. However, when the older Licata died at age 59, his son decided against taking that advice.

“My father was a teacher for 30 years, and he pressed us to pursue the business world,” said Licata, who is the director of choice and career options for the Palm Beach County School District and an adjunct professor at Florida Atlantic University. “He always indicated that there is a better payout going into business, but what he did not tell us is that the payoff of being an educator is priceless. After his death, I realized the impact and his worth to our area when hundreds of people attended his funeral.”

At the time, Licata was a 25-year-old contractor taking night classes at Palm Beach Junior College. He left the contracting world and registered at the University of Miami. After reviewing his academic record from PBJC, the University of Miami gave him a full scholarship. “With the preparation by some amazing professors at PBJC, I was way ahead,” he recalls.

After receiving his undergraduate degree at Miami, Licata went on to earn a master’s degree from Barry University in Educational Leadership, then a Ph.D. in Global Leadership from Lynn University.

Professionally, he has served as a principal of two schools, led multiple departments in the School District of Palm Beach County and has a small consulting business.

Along the way, he has gained a lot of insight into what makes a great teacher. “Educators are the salt of the earth, and it is truly a calling. You can’t fake being a great teacher, the grind will wear you out. Be prepared to be enlightened on how smart kids are…all kids. Also be prepared for many non-educators to tell you how education should be. My advice: Just listen to them and let them talk. A true teacher listens better than anything.”

Licata has three daughters and a stepson and lives in Boynton Beach. When people ask how he is doing, his response is always “If I’m complaining, I’m lying! Every day is a gift, and too many people forget that.”