He may have started out as a coach, but Marc Hammack is in charge of a much bigger team now that he’s principal at Clovis West High School. Growing up in Kerman, Hammack enjoyed high school, spending teen life moving between two often-at-odds social circles: the jocks and the band geeks. Anyone who can do that is a natural future leader. Coaching and a career in education developed from there.
It wasn’t until he entered the doctoral program at Fresno State a few years ago that Hammack began to consider Clovis as a place to work. After getting to know a few of the district’s administrators who were in the program with him, he grew interested in what Clovis Unified had to offer. His curiosity led him to a job as a learning director at Kastner Intermediate, then to a two-year stint as principal at Fort Washington Elementary School and finally to Clovis West, where he will soon be starting his second year as principal.
At a glance: Clovis West is a traditional public high school with roughly 2,500 students in grades 9-12. Opened it 1976 on the corner of Millbrook and Teague (which is technically in northeast Fresno), Clovis West was designated the School of Olympic Spirit by its first principal, William F. Noli. The school has remained competitive in academics and athletics since opening. It is been recognized as both a California Distinguished School and National Blue Ribbon School multiple times.
Here, Hammack talks about his path from Kerman to Clovis, his school’s focus on AP classes (to the tune of a near-50 percent participation rate), and just what he and teachers are doing to better connect with kids.