The growing demand for online learning has become an important part of the educational offering at the El Dorado Union High School District. So much so, that the success of the EDUHSD Virtual Academy at Shenandoah has prompted district administration and the Board of Trustees to expand the on-line program. Debby Hanson, director of Alternative Education as well as Independence High School principal, will hand over the role of principal to focus on expanding the Virtual Academy.
After an extensive interview process, alternative education teacher Alison Gennai will step into the role as principal of Independence, replacing Hanson. This completes an education circle for Gennai, who herself is a graduate of IHS.
“Once Alison’s interview had concluded, she became the interview panel’s obvious choice for principal. Her dynamic style, energy and responses during the interview process were quite impressive. She has an infectious enthusiasm,” Superintendent Christopher Hoffman said.
Gennai joined El Dorado Union High School District as a teacher in 2006, beginning at El Dorado High School. For the last five years she has taught at Independence High School and assumed the role of Lead Teacher in 2011. Gennai has established a legacy of leadership and student community engagement, according to Hoffman.
She successfully organized and led Independence students through the diplomatic process of advocating for the re-opening of the Placerville Skate Park in conjunction with the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors and has led the Independence High School community in many constructive campaigns including physical fitness, breast cancer awareness, public speaking, essay contests and poetry competitions.
Gennai graduated magna cum laude from California State University, Sacramento, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies and earned her education credentials at Chapman University. She is a member of Lambda Pi Eta, a national communications honor society that recognizes outstanding scholastic achievement. From 2009 to 2012, she served on the El Dorado County Skate Park Advisory Committee and is an active member of “THRIVE with 10-35,” a support network for El Dorado County sheriff’s deputies and their families.
Gennai said she believes in each and every Independence High School student and their ability to learn and be successful. A graduate of Independence High School herself, her vision for Independence is one of educational redemption where students can experience restoration and acceleration.
Gennai plans to engage all students through meaningful, high interest, standards-based curriculum and a supportive school network that will identify and overcome barriers to student success. Gennai looks forward to collaborating closely with Independence students and their families, the Independence High School faculty and staff, and to continue to build on her existing partnerships within the surrounding community.
“I have a deep love and respect for the students and community that make up Independence High School. Independence students are invaluable members of our community who have a wide variety of talents and skills to offer. The Independence team and I will communicate that message to our students and their families and instill in our students a newfound confidence that encourages and inspires them to pursue constructive paths through and after high school. It is my uncompromising view that all students can learn, given a positive and supportive learning atmosphere that welcomes exploration and enhances student confidence,” Gennai said.
A native of Placerville, she is married to Garrett Gennai; they have two children ages 9 and 7. The family resides in Placerville, and all four are avid snowboarders.
Gennai will assume her new role on July 1.