Returning to roots: Hannan takes reins at Silver Crest Elementary in fall

May 2016 Posted in People, School
Silverton High Principal  Mark Hannan

Silverton High Principal
Mark Hannan

By Kristine Thomas

Silverton High School Principal Mark Hannan said “there is something cathartic about coming full circle.”

For Hannan, that will happen this fall when he becomes the principal of Silver Crest Elementary School.

In a letter to the high school staff, Hannan wrote he and his wife, Jennifer Hannan, the principal at Eugene Field, have been discussing the possibility of making some life changes.

“After much soul searching, I have requested an assignment of Silver Crest principal and district programs manager beginning next school year,” Hannan said.

Silver Falls Superintendent Andy Bellando said the retirement of Principals Bob and Heidi Ostrom at Evergreen Elementary School created an opening for current Silver Crest Principal Jamie McCarty to continue as principal at Victor Point and start as the principal at Evergreen in the fall, leaving an opening at Silver Crest.

“When learning of this opportunity, Mr. Hannan requested he be considered for the position and I have approved this request,” Bellando wrote to the Silver Crest community.

Bellando said Hannan is looking forward to the change, as he began his career as an educator at Victor Point School and is excited about returning to the K-8 setting. A job announcement has been posted in the search for a new principal for Silverton High School, Bellando said, adding he will head up the process to hire the new high school principal. The application deadline is May 16 with the goal of making a recommendation to the board by its June 13 meeting.

Hannan said he is excited for the new opportunity for many reasons. Most importantly, it will allow him to prioritize his family.

“I have loved being the principal of Silverton High School, but the past seven years have taken a significant toll on my health and my family,” Hannan said. “As many of you know, I have a ninth-grader currently attending SHS, two more kids to come through SHS, and one just starting his adult life and career. I need to support them and to be present in their lives and their education as their dad and not the high school principal, which carries with it a myriad of complex dynamics and responsibilities.”

His experience being the principal will serve him well as he returns to the elementary grades, Hannan said, because he knows what it takes for a student to be successful at the high school. Being in a smaller, more focused setting also will allow him to be more personally connected with staff and parents.

“I look forward to being a part of the Silver Crest community and helping lead that school community to their next level,” Hannan said. “I look forward to working with younger students again. I will miss working with the high school students, however.”

Silver Falls School Board Chair Tim Roth said Hannan has served the high school well for the past seven years.

“He focuses on what’s best for kids. Intervention programs have been started to help kids succeed,” Roth said. “He hires good staff which translates into student success. He sets high standards for the school both academically and socially which is why the graduation rate was 90 percent last year and we regularly hear from people outside of Silverton about the great kids at SHS. These things are not accidents, they result from good leadership.”

As his primary focus for the past 15 years at SHS has been getting students across the stage at graduation, Hannan said he has a “very clear understanding of both the skills and content students need to have mastered to be successful in high school.”

The high school staff’s work has resulted in the highest graduation rates ever attained locally, and SHS was given silver medal status by US News and World Report – ranking it in the top 35 of all Oregon high schools, Hannan said.

“We have found avenues to support and give all kids the opportunity to be successful in an academic environment more rigorous than it has ever been. In addition to being very solid academically, our extracurricular, arts and athletics programs excel which provides great life experiences for our students and our community.”

Hannan is proud of the “extraordinary educators who have directly impacted the lives and futures of thousands of students. I am overwhelmingly proud of our students.  There are several data points that indicate that Silverton High School is performing better than it ever has.   There is much more work to be done here, but the character, academic growth, talent, and success of our kids makes me proud to be at Silverton High School.”

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