Assistant principal Mrs. Jennifer Hanks departs after 18 years to join the California Coalition for Inclusive Literacy


After stepping on stage to receive his diploma, Mrs. Jennifer Hanks and Jackson Floyd pose for a photo. After 18 years on campus, Hanks departed after she accepted a new position as an implementation specialist working for the California Coalition for Inclusive Literacy. Photo by Emerson Kibby.

Feeling anxious. Feeling hopeful. Lunch at Chef’s Table seemed like just the right weekday distraction for Assistant Principal Mrs. Jennifer Hanks. This is it. You step outside to take the call.

“I remember walking back inside and everyone was staring at me. Our friends looked so nervous. I remember yelling, ‘I got the job!’ and the looks on their faces were so proud,” Jennifer Hanks said.

Hanks has been the assistant principal since 2010 after her role as a French teacher, but announced her resignation last week in order to accept another job opportunity working for the California Coalition for Inclusive Literacy as an implementation specialist. 

She received a call from her supervisor, Shamryn Coyle, letting her know that she had gotten the job while at Chef’s Table with her husband, fellow teacher Paul Hanks.

“As I looked through the job description, I felt like it had been written for me,” Hanks said.

Although she wasn’t looking for a new job, Hanks couldn’t pass up the opportunity. She will still be working with students, but not on campuses. In this new role, her main focus is to ensure that all students have inclusive and equitable literacy practices in the classroom. This can be achieved through UDL (universal design for learning) practices.

“It’s the idea that this new job is working at a totally different pace than what I’ve been working at that scares me,” Hanks said.

Hanks packed her office and closed the chapter June 16, leaving an administrator vacancy. Due to travel schedules, the hiring process during the summer can provide challenges. According to Principal Scott Collins, the specifics of administrative responsibilities have not yet been worked out for the 2023-2024 school year, but Collins said he hopes to have the role filled by the end of July. Collins said he is looking for a dynamic leader who is willing to connect and inspire people in the same ways that Hanks did.

“[Hanks] was an institution at Whitney and will be missed tremendously. Her commitment and dedication to the entire Whitney family is unwavering,” Collins said.

Hanks brought many things to the campus that will continue as her legacy. She was part of the Wellness Committee on campus, created the first WHS app in 2014, was a class advisor for the Class of 2009, brought W.O.W. week to Whitney and ultimately started the idea of PAWS, formerly known as intervention. Additionally, Hanks is known for her connection to the Student Visionaries of the Year program, a group of students who raise money for blood cancer and have chosen to honor Hanks’ husband as their honored hero and raise awareness about his battle with multiple Myeloma.

“Mrs. Hanks played a pivotal role in supporting our team, she has such a kind heart and brought so much passion to the club. Her presence in our club inspired our team members to make a larger effort to support our cause and Mr. Hanks. Her helping hand within our club and her support will be missed, we will definitely have to step it up next year not having her,” club president Lakelee Perkins said. 

The type of connections Hanks made on campus come from all sorts of situations. From SVOY to her time as a French and AVID teacher, Hanks has had a role on campus for 18 years, strengthening relationships of all types. 

Aside from the excitement of her next chapter, she will miss seeing what students are up to and sharing her spirit with them. It makes her excited to know that she will still have a positive impact on students in her new role.

Hanks said, “As I leave, I want the students to know that I always cared about what was best for them and I want to encourage them to find their connections and make that a goal for themselves,” Hanks said.


with additional reporting by: EMERSON KIBBY & ISABELLA TOMASINI