Originally hailing from the southern suburbs of Chicago, but more recently from local Woodside High School, Amy Hanson has joined the Menlo-Atherton community as this year’s second new Administrative Vice Principal. After growing up in Chicago, Hanson first began her teaching career at her former high school. “My grandpa was a custodian there and my mom went there, so I had really strong community ties. After ten years, my husband said, ‘Hey, let’s move to California!’ and I was like, ‘You’re crazy’, but we did, and that’s how I ended up at Woodside,” Hanson said. Throughout her 19 years in education, Hanson has taught both Spanish and AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) courses at Woodside.
She was originally drawn to the administrative position after noticing her leadership strengths as an AVID coordinator and the World Language Department Chair at Woodside. “Coming from the Midwest, I had never heard of some of these opportunities for teachers to do things outside the classroom to grow professionally. So, I started taking advantage of a lot of those, and I applied for an administrative credentialing program,” she explained.
At that same program in the spring of 2023, Hanson met Jessica Magallanes. “Ms. Magallanes and I got really close in our night classes. We said, ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome if we got to be admin together one day?’ The fact that it actually worked out is so wonderful for both of us. I’m sure anyone can relate to that feeling of being new, but being new with a friend makes everything so much easier,” Hanson said.
Even with some nervousness, she is most excited to get to know M-A students and activities on a more personal level. “I really want to focus on just getting out on campus and talking to students, whether it be during brunch, lunch, or at events. I would love to help students with different projects, especially in our Leadership programs,” she said.
She also echoed Magallanes’ sentiment about changing the reputation of the AVP office, saying, “I want the AVP office to be viewed as a resource for students––there’s so much more that goes on in this office besides discipline. It can be a place for mentoring or a place if you need someone to talk to.” She added that she hoped students would come to the AVP office with suggestions for events or school-wide activities. “I would love to have students bring ideas, and we can collaborate to bring those to life.”
Hanson is most excited to dive straight into and contribute to the great M-A energy. “I just want to soak it all up,” she said. “I hope that students also view their AVPs as people who care about them in all aspects. I really am looking forward to trying to foster that relationship here.”