Alison Hawks-Sloan
Alison Hanks-Sloan has been named the new principal at Aptos High School. — Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

APTOS—Aptos High School’s new principal began her career in education during a stint in the Peace Corps, where in a small mountaintop village in Ethiopia she upended the school’s boys-in-the-front, girls-in-the-back paradigm and learned the influence a good educator can have.

“I fell in love with education and realizing the power of the classroom,” says Alison Hanks-Sloan, who took the helm at the school in July.

She replaces Peggy Pughe, who now serves as the PVUSD Executive Director of Teaching and Learning.

Hanks-Sloan’s most recent position was as principal and founder at International High School at Largo in Maryland, a school geared toward English learners, and populated by students from more than 100 countries.

“We looked at how our English Language Learners were often the ones with the lowest graduation rates,” she said. “We started looking at how we could develop different schools and do things differently.”

Hanks-Sloan holds a doctorate degree in teaching and learning from the University of Maryland, a master’s in education ESL from George Washington University and a bachelor’s in cultural anthropology from the University of New Mexico and San Diego State.

She says she first came to the Aptos area three decades ago, when she was attending San Diego State University and drove her mother here.

“I fell in love with the area, but it took another 30 years to finally come here officially,” she said.

Hanks-Sloan says she has felt welcomed into the Aptos High community, which boasts a designation as a California Distinguished School, and is populated by a diverse group of students.

“There is room for everybody in the school to be successful,” she says. “And I hope that my experience in looking at students and populations that have not always benefitted, or have been underserved, will help them have the chance to access the same programs and the same opportunities and really be a part of everything that is going on at the school.”

In addition to Aptos High’s new principal, PVUSD has announced the appointments of 21 other administrators:

  • Rebecca Milburn: MacQuiddy Elementary School Principal
  • Susan Graulty: New School Community Day School Principal 
  • Patricia (Trish) Unruhe: Coordinator of Extended Learning for Migrant Education 
  • Esmerelda Flores: Radcliff Elementary School Academic Coordinator
  • Rachael Jones: Aptos High School Assistant Principal
  • Jorge Bermudez: Rolling Hills Middle School Assistant Principal
  • Judith Woods: Lakeview Middle School Assistant Principal
  • Nicole Salles-Cunha: Program Director for Special Education
  • Phillip Menchaca: Program Directors for Special Education
  • Blanca Madriz: E.A. Hall Middle School Assistant Principal
  • Elizabeth (Liz) Ettinger: Assistant Principal of Aptos Junior High School
  • Sergio Ambriz: Maintenance Supervisor 
  • Jeanie Aitken: Food and Nutrition Services Director
  • John Navarrete: Maintenance Supervisor
  • Juan Alcantar: Pajaro Middle School Principal
  • Dagoberto Garcia: E.A. Hall Middle School Principal
  • Selene Munoz Casas: Rolling Hills Middle School Principal
  • Kerry le Roux: Aptos Junior High School Principal 
  • Heather Bailey: Radcliff Elementary Principal
  • Terrence (Terry) Redfern: Director of Mathematics
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General assignment reporter, covering nearly every beat. I specialize in feature stories, but equally skilled in hard and spot news. Pajaronian/Good Times/Press Banner reporter honored by CSBA.


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