Sonoma Valley High School principal resigns

Jessica Hutchinson will depart after serving the school for nine years.|

Jessica Hutchinson has resigned from her position as principal of Sonoma Valley High School after serving the school for nine years.

She began as a vice principal at the school in the 2013-14 academic year and took over as interim principal in spring 2020 at the start of the pandemic. Hutchinson also was the co-district director of Advanced Via Individual Determination (AVID) before serving as principal during the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years. Her resignation will become effective on June 30.

“When I took over as principal, I had worked here for almost seven years and I knew the school, students, staff and community well,” Hutchinson said. “I felt I was the right person for the position at that time, given my experience, knowledge, background and relationships with the community. I knew where the school had been and the direction we want to take, given our WASC [Western Association of Schools and Colleges] goals and plans. And after working under three different principals in three years, I wanted to bring needed continuity to the position.”

Hutchinson’s departure follows the resignations of the school district’s associate superintendent for business services Bruce Abbott; along with the principals for Adele Harrison Middle School and Prestwood, El Verano and Flowery elementary schools; and the director of Sonoma Charter School—all within the past three weeks.

She said that all educators are facing difficult challenges at this time.

“While case rates are improving, we are very much still living with layers of COVID,” she said. “Students and teachers alike are working to address learning gaps. There are absences due to COVID and the need to make up work or get caught up. COVID protocols are a whole new realm of work that office staff must address. Many students have increased their social-emotional needs since the onset of the pandemic. There are staffing shortages that further impact all of this.”

Hutchinson is proud of her work with the staff and community while serving as principal of SVHS.

“I led the school community as we adapted to distance learning and as we transitioned back to in-person instruction,” she said. “Along the way, there were other challenges and trying times that our school community faced, and we successfully navigated through them together.

“We have also been working to follow our WASC school plan, with a focus on data analysis to review student grades and progress reports, and identify students who need additional support. We have also begun work to focus on essential standards and develop common units and common assessments. This work complements the work we are doing around data and is important as we return from distance learning and address the gaps that exist for some of our students.

Hutchinson praised the SVHS community.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to work at Sonoma Valley High for the past nine years,” she said. “Our students have faced many challenges in the last few years and I continue to be amazed by their resilience, strength and character. I am so proud of all that our students have accomplished.

Reach the reporter, Dan Johnson, at

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