| Meet Holy Names' new principal
Constance Hubbard, former superintendent of the Piedmont Unified School District, becomes principal at Holy Names High School in Oakland effective July 1. Hubbard has more than 35 years of experience in education, with 12 years in Piedmont and 21 years in the Albany Unified School District. She discussed her new role at HNHS with staff writer Carrie McClish.
What is it like for you, as an alumna of HNHS, to return to the school as principal?
It is like coming full circle in my career in education. I was blessed by the education that I received as a student at Holy Names such that it not only prepared me academically but also instilled those qualities that have carried into my professional life. It was at Holy Names that I internalized the fundamental value of relationships in all endeavors.
Have you revisited the school or classmates over the years?
I have stayed in contact with many former classmates, since I have lived in Oakland this whole time. I have also kept abreast of many of the activities at the school. I am in contact with a few of the Holy Names sisters, so I have been able to keep up on the news of the school.
Why did you choose HNHS?
It seems as if it was divine intervention that this opportunity came up just as I was retiring from Piedmont Unified School District. … I wanted to use what I have learned at Piedmont at Holy Names. I knew that I was not ready to stop work in education and the opportunity to work more directly with students in the school where I attended seemed just too serendipitous. I am thrilled at the opportunity.
Have you ever taught at a Catholic school?
My entire career has been in the public school setting. I spent 22 years in Albany (California) as a counselor, assistant principal and principal before starting my work at the district office level and coming to Piedmont in 2000. I have applied many of the values that I learned as a student at Catholic schools to the secular setting of public schools and I know that is the basis for much of the success that I enjoyed in my career.
How has the transition from public to private school been?
I have not yet transitioned — I am finishing my work in Piedmont while carving out time to get familiar with the needs and aspirations for Holy Names. I am grateful for the time and energy that the interim principal, Dr. Harry Purpur has put in the school this past year to prepare for the turnover to the permanent principal. He has been extremely generous and patient with me as we work on the transition.
Why should a family send their daughter to a single-sex school?
Research verifies that a single gender school, especially for girls, helps them find their own voice and encourages participation in male dominated subjects like math, science and computers. In the current world of social media and connectivity there are ample opportunities for socialization for the students. A single gender school frees the students to concentrate on the academics in a more relaxed setting. It also encourages opportunities for leadership that they may not experience in a co-ed setting.
What is in the future for Holy Names High?
Our priority will to increase enrollment. As a life-long Oaklander, I am surprised at the number of people who do not know about Holy Names and the opportunities it offers young women. …As the word gets out about the tremendous opportunities including arts, science, technology that are available for young women, we will grow.
What can alumni do?
We are planning a concentrated outreach to our alumnae. Our motto of "Noblesse Oblige" continues to speak to us and confirms our obligation as those fortunate to have had the blessing of a comprehensive educational experience at Holy Names to carry those blessings forward. Alumnae must be open to the spirit of need in our time, calling us to nurture the growth of young women to ensure a voice for equity and justice for all.
I grew up as a member of St. Lawrence O'Toole Parish and am a member of St. Leo the Great. My husband Dean and I live in Oakland and are blessed with many nieces and nephews with whom we are close.
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