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outgoing principal
discusses a
tumultuous year

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placeholder June 23, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 12   •   Oakland, CA
Graduations & Schools

Holy Names outgoing principal
discusses a tumultuous year

Sister Margaret Spiller, SNJM

Holy Names High School in Oakland has completed a tumultuous year: students staged a walk-out for a number of reasons, ranging from concerns about the curriculum to personnel; the principal left on family leave; and an assistant principal resigned. Acting Principal Sister Margaret Spiller, SNJM, discussed these issues and the future of the all-girls Oakland Catholic high school.

Are you going to return to HNHS in the fall for the 2014- 2015 school year?

No, I will finish my term as acting principal at the end of June.

Will Colleen Curran, who had served as principal but went on family leave earlier this year, return to HNHS?

Because of continuing health concerns in her family, Colleen Curran chose not to return for the fall semester. The HNHS school board is looking to bring in a new interim principal.

Why is the board looking for another interim principal rather than a more permanent one?

It is pretty late in the year to launch a full search for a principal. We would prefer to look for an interim principal until we are able to do the search for a permanent principal properly.

When will the interim principal be named?

An announcement about the interim will come in July. We have already selected a dean of students and assistant principal for student activities for next year.

Did any of these staff changes result from the student walkout in March?

I think these staff changes are responses to identified school needs — identified by teachers and the acting principal and approved by the board.

Since the walk out, how would you describe the final weeks of this school year? Have the problems involving the students been resolved?

I have found the Holy Names High School community most welcoming — students, parents, alums, teachers, board.

I am not sure that any high school ever actually resolves all the issues or problems involving students; I think part of working in a high school is helping students figure out how to identify important issues and how to address them in a constructive way. I think the students at HNHS have always been encouraged to do this. I was very impressed with the beauty of our graduation ceremony — the singing, the student and adult speakers, and the grace and dignity of the girls was outstanding.

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