JANESVILLE — Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton will be starting the 2019/2020 school year with a new high school principal.
Grant Hanson, coming from Mankato, is the new JWP principal.
Originally from South Dakota, Hanson graduated with his undergraduate degree in art education from South Dakota State University and his master’s in education leadership and a specialist degree in education leadership with K-12 administration licensure from Minnesota State University, Mankato in Spring of 2019. Since graduating Hanson feels ready to serve in his first administrative position.
“l want the kids to be here. Let’s get rolling,” Hanson said. “I want to get up and rolling. All this prep work is really good and important, but I’m excited to get everybody here and see how this system operates and get to know it and the kids.”
Hanson was hired in mid-July after previous high school principal Andy Krause accepted a new assistant principal position in Mankato.
“Grant demonstrated a strong commitment to student success and a collaborative leadership style during the hiring process,” JWP School District Superintendent Kurt Stumpf said. “Grant brings a wealth of instructional leadership experiences through his work as a classroom teacher and continuous improvement coach. I am excited for our students, staff and community to work with such an outstanding leader.”
Just months after graduating with his master’s degree in May 2019, Hanson was hired at JWP for the open principal position.
“This opportunity came up and I thought I might as well go for it and it’ll be a great opportunity for me to learn and challenge myself and grow as a leader and there’s obviously a lot of added responsibility but I look forward to it,” Hanson said. “There’s a great team in this office. They are all awesome. They’re willing for me to come up to them constantly to ask questions...I’m not here necessarily to mix things up and rock the boat. I really want to take the time to learn the culture here, what are the things we do well what are our strengths and as we continue to move forward what do we need to do better and how can I support them in that.”
Hanson is ready for school to start to meet all of the students and get to know the staff better so he can learn the culture of the school. He emphasized that relationships are something that he values.
“I hope to be out and in the classrooms and connecting with teachers and students as much as possible,” Hanson said. “I have a high value on meaningful and positive relationships and so I hope to establish those from day one and I’ve tried already, but once students and staff are all here making sure I’m connecting with everybody and letting them know that they’re valued and finding out what those needs are then giving them opportunities to have a voice in our system.”
Hanson has held many different positions in numerous locations involved with education prior to JWP. He started his first full-time teaching job at a school in North Carolina, where he stayed for two years.
Once moving to Mankato, he worked at East High School in different roles before being a part-time art teacher. While he was teaching at East High School he was also working at Washington Elementary and Futures part-time. He did this until he became a full-time teacher at East in 2012/2013.
Since starting at JWP he said that he has felt welcomed by the staff, who have all been willing to answer his questions. In his training Hanson was able to learn about the initiatives and programs that are run at JWP, such as personalized learning.
“The work the district has done and specifically around personalized learning in the high school, it’s all really good work and I agree with it wholeheartedly,” Hanson said. “I want to make sure they feel supported in that.”