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Hot 20 2011: Jane Henzerling, Mission Preparatory School founding principal

The Educator
Jane Henzerling, 34
Mission Preparatory School founding principal
Photographed by Alex Farnum at MPS in Excelsior

As a kid, well before opening Mission Preparatory School, the first K-8 charter school in the Excelsior, Jane Henzerling was a self-proclaimed nerd. “Everyone came to me for help with homework and studying for tests,” says the former New Yorker. “I assumed my peers could get it if we worked hard enough, no matter how much they were struggling. But I didn’t always see our teachers operating with that same assumption.” Later, as an ESL elementary school teacher in Phoenix, she watched one of her students go on to attend Arizona State University on scholarship. Inspired to help other ESL children get on the college track, Henzerling completed a fellowship with Building Excellent Schools, a charter school incubator in Boston, after moving to SF. “San Francisco has an ethos that is dynamic and progressive, but that’s not really happening in our public education system in the city,” she says. “We have an opportunity to channel that ethos into something that our city needs.” Last month, with the help of community agencies, nonprofits, and neighborhood families, Henzerling welcomed Mission Preparatory’s first 50 kindergarteners, already referred to as the college class of 2028. “I think that really believing in every child’s potential is fundamental to all of us working in education,” she says. “That’s what’s driving everything I do.”

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