Goodbye ceremony will honor outgoing principal of 22 years

Kim Shields will take Christa Hanson's place as principal of St. Mary School starting with the 2012-2013 school year. 

June 5, 2012, has been declared Christa Hanson Day at St. Mary School in honor of Hanson’s 22-year run as principal.

Students, teachers, parish families and alumni are invited to come say goodbye to Hanson, who is leaving her post after more than two decades. The school will celebrate her dedication and work with a goodbye ceremony from 2 to 3 p.m. June 5 at St. Mary School, located at 7900 Church St. in Gilroy. 

On March 19, Hanson, 63, was offered a position at the Learning and Loving Educational Center, a Presentation Sisters-sponsored ministry in Morgan Hill. Also known as the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Catholic religious congregation of women is “committed to the service of God and the spread of the gospel,” according to the organization’s website. Sisters of the Presentation are part of the San Jose Diocese and are directly affiliated with Saint Mary School in Gilroy.

Hanson has served as principal at Saint Mary School for 22 years, marking the longest consecutive tenure of any principal in the school’s 140-year history.

“The opportunity to use my talents and skills at a smaller agency was a major factor,” said Hanson.

As the new director of the Learning and Loving Educational Center, a place Hanson describes as “a literacy center for women,” the longtime principal will continue to work in the area of education.

The Learning and Loving Educational Center is a non-profit, educational project aimed at providing learning opportunities and outreach to low-income and immigrant women and their children in Santa Clara County, according to the organization’s website.

Kim Shields will become the school’s new principal beginning with the 2012-13 school year. Shields was a teacher at Saint Mary School for seven years before becoming the principal at Saint Justin Elementary School in Santa Clara for 10 years

Hanson said she will still live in Gilroy and might continue to write the annual Advent Program that Saint Mary puts on before Christmas. Hanson will finish out the remaining school year and help with the transitioning of her replacement during the summer.

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