||January 23, 2012 • VOL. 50, NO. 2 • Oakland, CA|
| Holy Names
High School principal
reflects on nine years at helm
Note: Sister Sally Slyngstad
of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary has been principal
at Holy Names High School for the past nine years. She also is a graduate
of HNHS, which is entering its 143rd year of educating young women in
Oakland. Sister Sally talked about the school and its future with Staff
Writer Carrie McClish, also an HNHS graduate.
How long have you been principal at HNHS?
I have been privileged to serve as principal at HNHS for the last nine years, and prior to that I served on the Board of Directors of the school. I am also an HNHS alum.
Has your successor been selected yet and if not, when will that happen?
The HNHS Board of Directors and the members of the Sisters of the Holy Names province leadership have formed a search committee and have engaged the services of the firm Carney, Sandoe & Associates to direct the search for a new principal. They hope to have someone in place by spring to begin service at HNHS in July.
What have been the biggest challenges you faced as principal?
One of them has been navigating and riding the wave of the global economic realities that we continue to experience, especially as they affect the Bay Area. Another is the evolving change in thinking among teenagers about the benefit of single gender education for girls — something we deeply believe in at HNHS.
What do you feel have been the biggest accomplishments?
HNHS has the most amazing group of women and men who share their gifts with our students each day. One hundred percent of our graduates have gone on to higher education in the last six years, some of whom are the first in their family to go to college. It is to the credit of the dedicated personnel who “walk the extra mile” with the students that this goal has been possible to achieve. We also have an amazing leadership program for our students, preparing them to be leaders in a global society.
Is the strategic planning process announced last year completed? If so, what was learned from the process?
The Board of Directors approved the Strategic Plan in June 2011. We have begun to implement some of the initiatives in the areas of technology, co-curricular activities, facility study, marketing and recruitment and curriculum planning. We are excited about the possibilities that are before us and believe HNHS has an even stronger future ahead.
How has the economic downturn affected the school?
Diversity in many forms is one of the strengths of HNHS, including socio-economic diversity. We have seen a huge increase in need for financial aid from families who might not have needed it in the past. We have also experienced families moving out of the area to find more affordable housing options. This has had an effect on our enrollment in the last seven years, resulting in a smaller student body.
What date will you step down?
My last day should be June 30, 2012 although I am committed to engaging in a smooth transition with the next school leader and that timeline is not yet determined.
What will you do next?
I am hoping to take a little time for renewal and discernment, for friends and family, and time for me!
Any advice for your successor?
Love the students, their families and the personnel of HNHS, keep an open door and mind and have some fun along the way. Holy Names High School is a place of surprises and miracles!
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