Seven years into her education career, Dr. Colleen Myers took on a role as a resource teacher at Cerra Vista Elementary School in Hollister. The position, a perfect fit for Myers at the time, opened her eyes to a future in administration.
“That’s really where my forte is,” said Myers, who has since earned a doctorate degree. “I’m organized and like to put things in order. I did really well there and thought, ‘I could probably do this on a greater scale.’ I thought I could get a master’s and go into administration.”
That realization took Myers down a path that eventually led to her being named Director of Educational Services with the Hollister School District this year.
“For me, I see the directorship to be a supporting role,” Myers said. “It goes in line with my doctoral work in leadership—helping support people, including Superintendent Erika Sanchez, the assistant superintendent, all the directors here and, of course, site staff.”
That may have something to do with Myers’ diverse background as an educator, someone who spent 17 years teaching at district schools before moving into administration. Incidentally, Myers recalled how she “stumbled into teaching” in 1997 and even then didn’t have any intention of moving into administration. That year, California was moving to a mandated 20-1 student-teacher ratio, she noted.
“I never had a day of experience in the classroom,” she said. “I had to jump into a teaching credential program as well as into the classroom.”
She taught at Calaveras, Gabilan Hills and Cerra Vista and then in the resource teacher position for five years at Cerra Vista. From there, she accepted a role as assistant principal at Ladd Lane, where she worked with then Principal Kip Ward who is now assistant superintendent with the Hollister School District. She said that first administration position at Ladd Lane involved “a lot of collaboration” and work on a variety of committees.
“As Kip would say, I have FOMO—fear of missing out. I just kind of had my hands in everything,” she said.
Added Ward: “The Hollister School District is very fortunate to have Dr. Colleen Myers as the Director of Educational Services. Her entire career has been dedicated to student achievement and her leadership will benefit all the students of the Hollister School District.”
As one example from that period, Myers became driven to modernize the district’s information technology infrastructure after seeing the immense need in the classroom. While attending a Google education event, she wondered about the prospect of getting local educators Google certified.
“Then I got bold and asked our superintendent, ‘Could we do this?’” she said.
The district held a Google Day event on the first day of summer that year. About 200 staff members showed up to become Google certified, which measures and confirms technology proficiency.
“It was very exciting to see all these people like me—they want to do this,” she said. “That summer, I got a phone call from county Superintendent Krystal Lomanto. She wanted me to join her team as a director.”
She moved over to the San Benito County Office of Education where she was Coordinator of Instructional Support and Director of Curriculum and Instruction over a four-year span. She said she enjoyed her time in the county office of education but ultimately missed working with students and came back to the Hollister School District as principal of Cerra Vista in 2020 “during the heat of Covid.” Of course, that was during the distance learning period when it was a challenge to “bring staff together and encourage them to keep going.”
“I was even having staff members come to me in tears,” she recalled.
She doesn’t plan to ease into the district administration position, either. Myers is spending her first month on the job developing the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) that the district must write each year showing how it’s spending money for a specific population of students. The 100-plus page document goes to the county office of education for approval.
“You have to be very mindful of how you’re spending it and how it’s going to affect students,” she said.
In the district role, she sees it as an opportunity to merge her experiences in the classroom and prior administration positions.
“I really see myself as a teachers’ teacher,” she said. “I feel like teachers can come to me and I can relate to them.”