Stratford School's Pleasanton campus has hired a Tri-Valley resident with more than 13 years of experience in education as its new elementary school principal.
Maureen Christensen's first day was July 8. She replaces Kim Cullen, who will stay on at Stratford as a senior operations analyst helping with project management.
Christensen is the second new administrative hire for the private school in recent months, as the school brought on Amina Saiyed as its preschool principal in the spring.
Before coming to Stratford School, Christensen was working for the Diocese of Oakland and had spent the last three years as a school principal. A Danville resident with two daughters away for college, she said this was the ideal time to pursue a new exciting opportunity.
"I was excited to join the Stratford family," Christensen said. "I fully support their mission to inspire students to achieve an excellent academic education."
Christensen earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology with a minor in business and human resources from San Jose State University. She received her multiple subject teaching credential from California State University, Fresno and is working to complete her master's degree in educational leadership along with an administrative credential in October from National University.
Christensen started off in human resources, then stepped away for 13 years to raise her children. When she went back to work, she knew she wanted try out a new profession in education.
"It was the perfect opportunity at that point," Christensen said. "I had always been passionate about education and always committed to my own personal development, so it took off like wildfire."
Having another teacher as a mentor "ignited the spark, and that's all she wrote," Christensen added.
More than a decade later, that initial spark has now led Christensen to a school job in her own backyard.
In a statement, Stratford chief operating officer Barbara Timm-Brock said Christensen's background in human resources is a big asset in a school leader and that the school was happy to have her.
"Maureen is a visionary school leader who is passionate about education and has a genuine ability to inspire children to reach their full potential," Timm-Brock said.
Christensen said she is looking forward to having a 15-minute commute this school year and is excited about continuing to provide curriculum with an emphasis in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
"I want to build partnerships with the families," she said. "We know when a community all works together to support learning students tend to be more successful. I want to encourage open lines of communication."
Students at the Pleasanton Stratford School, which is located at 4576 Willow Road, will go back on Aug. 22.