Deb grew up in nearby Wheeler where she graduated from Wheeler High School. Following graduation, she studied at Valparaiso University earning her BA in Fine Arts, Music Education.
It was at Valparaiso University that she met her husband, Michael Porter and they married following her graduation. They have been married for over 35 years and have two adult children, Rebekah (Tucker) Peterson in West Rutland, Vermont; and Aaron who lives in New York City. They have two grandsons in Vermont, Isaac and Brian Peterson.
A Lifelong Educator
Early in her career, Deb worked as a music teacher, gave private piano lessons, sold books, taught in a Lutheran school and was a stay-at-home mom for a few years. Meanwhile, Mike’s career as a pastor in the Lutheran Church took them to live in St. Louis, Missouri and small towns in Michigan, Illinois and Arkansas.
Returning to the region by way of Wheeler and then settling in Valparaiso, Deb now teaches elementary music for Portage Township Schools and has earned her master’s degree in Music Technology from Indiana University. A strong believer in life-long learning, Deb also has a certificate as an Integrated Arts Specialist and a certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University.
A Legacy of Public Service
Deb grew up in an atmosphere of public service and involvement in community. Her father was a volunteer firefighter and later sat on the township advisory board. Her mother was a Girl Scout leader, led the volunteer fire department women’s auxiliary and volunteered in school functions. Deb was a Girl Scout leader and volunteered in school functions while the children were young.
Once both kids were on their own, Deb felt the need to get involved in the political arena first through her involvement with the Portage Association of Teachers, where she served as president for 10 of the past 12 years. As president, she has served on committees with the Indiana State Teachers Association and has been a delegate to the National Education Association Representative Assembly.
Deep Ties to the Valparaiso Community
In 2015, Deb was elected to serve on the Valparaiso City Council as an At-Large member. She made history joining a female majority City Council and as one of the first Democrats elected to the role in over 8 years.
Currently Deb serves as Vice-president of the Board of Directors for Hilltop Neighborhood House and volunteers for the Valparaiso Theatrical Company.
She is a member at Faith Lutheran Church in Valparaiso where she leads a woman’s Bible study, directs the choir, sings for services and helps out as needed by playing piano or organ for worship.
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