For nearly four decades, Patricia Tennant has called Saint Francis High School home, but that changes at the end of June when she retires as principal.
In addition to her role of principal, in which she has served for 22 years, Mrs. Tennant has worn many other hats including director of academics, guidance and counseling department chair, English teacher, as well as moderator for the junior class, the senior class and the Challenge Success campus club.
“There is something about being around young people right in the middle of their adolescence and maturation that is so remarkable and awe-inspiring,” she said.
One of the areas in which she has made an impact is to ensure that the work and spirit of the Holy Cross Brothers would remain strong. Early in her principalship, Mrs. Tennant met with fellow principals from the Holy Cross Southwest Province to discuss how their schools can maintain the Holy Cross charism when it became clear that the Brothers could not live forever. These initial efforts yielded unimaginable results for the school. The BRIC values – the four core beliefs that embody all elements of school life – and the school immersion program came out of those talks.
In addition, Mrs. Tennant oversaw the growth of Saint Francis as an institution where students can receive a well-rounded education. As part of the school’s growth, Mrs. Tennant has championed Saint Francis’ commitment to innovation and change in the classroom. The block schedule, which mimics a college schedule, and the use of iPads are notable demonstrations of this commitment. In addition, faculty members have also embraced reinventing how they teach, using instructional strategies such as varied assessments to evaluate students and flipped classrooms to better respond to student learning needs.
Throughout her tenure, Mrs. Tennant has been a tireless leader. From athletic contests to drama and musical performances, she is unwavering in her support of students.
Outside of Saint Francis, she has sat on many boards. She has been part of the CCS board of managers, the Drexel Schools board of trustees, and she chaired the superintendent search for the Diocese of San Jose.
“It’s important for educators to support each other. We don’t operation in isolation. The more we know about how others do things, we become better,” she said.
In typical fashion, Mrs. Tennant credits her ability to lead the school to the work and dedication of the faculty and staff at Saint Francis.
“Here, everyone is so committed. We help each other, and when you need people, they’re there,” she said. “It’s been a great run.”