The Orange Unified School District at last has a new superintendent – Gunn Marie Hansen.
The name is likely familiar to those who have been following developments in the district. Hansen was deputy and assistant superintendent during the tenure of former Superintendent Michael Christensen.
Christensen announced his plans to retire back in May, and the search for his successor has been a topic at many district meetings since. After a few hiccups in the search process, and a final review of 23 completed applications, the district decided the best fit for the job was right under their noses all along.
Hansen has been an elementary and high school teacher, principal, curriculum director, professor and administrator. We had a brief chat with her to learn a little more about Orange Unified’s new leader.
Q: What do you think separates a good superintendent from a great one?
A: Having really good board-superintendent relations and communication is very important. We have a seven-member board in Orange Unified, all from distinct communities, who are very focused on meeting the needs of our community. Working with them to develop goals and priorities based on the needs of the district and really focusing on achieving those strategic goals helps ensure our educational programs are the best they can be in public education.
Q: What do you want to see accomplished under your leadership at OUSD?
A: What I’d really like to see accomplished is that Orange Unified is on the map in terms of excellent schools. As we are now, we have 25 Gold Ribbon schools – the most of Orange County’s school districts. I’d like to continue to accelerate that and put Orange Unified on the map in terms of the top performing districts.
Educationally, continuing to make that progress in addition to working closely with our community to communicate openly on what the future is for our students. How do we design the programs that are going to make our students competitive in both college and careers?
Q: What is your favorite type of student?
A: I think curiosity and love of learning is critical for our students. I love to see students that are yearning and have a passion for learning. Obviously, students have all kinds of interests, and because we’re a comprehensive school system, we offer a multitude of programs.
I love to ask students what they see their future is going to hold – what kinds of things can we do to meet their needs? Those students are our future; they’re the…