New activities director Cunningham brings fresh perspective

September 10, 2021 — by Nicole Lu
Photo by Nicole Lu

After working with assistant principal Matt Torrens as part of the Leadership class for the past three years, senior class president Apurva Chakravarthy felt a mixture of excitement and nervousness upon meeting his replacement, Kristen Cunningham.

When meeting her for the first time during the summer over Zoom, Chakravarthy had no idea what to expect. She had heard good things from ASB president Derek Hsu, who was part of the interview process for the role, but didn’t know anything else about her.

However, immediately after their first meeting, Chakravarthy knew that she would enjoy working with Cunningham after seeing “how kind, passionate and understanding” she was. 

“I absolutely loved working with Mr. Torrens, but when you’ve been with one teacher for so long, you develop certain ways of doing things,” Chakravarthy said. “With Mrs. Cunningham, it’s like ‘I’m new and I don’t know everything yet, so we can try new things if we want to,’ which is a really nice mentality to have.”

Before coming to Saratoga, Cunningham worked as both a teacher and counselor for 20 years at various schools including Valley Christian, Creston Elementary and the Los Altos Christian school. 

After graduating from Monta Vista High School, Cunningham went on to pursue an English degree at UC Santa Barbara before earning a teaching credential and masters in Education. She recently began pursuing an administrative services credential through an online program at San Diego State University.

In addition to facilitating the Leadership classes, forwarding questions from students to the administration and emailing relevant ASB and class office announcements to the SHS community, Cunningham also teaches a period of Strategic Learning, an online class that teaches students learning skills like effective note taking and testing strategies. 

“The students are awesome and my love for event planning is definitely getting put to use,” she said. “So many of the staff have been welcoming and helpful to me as I’ve transitioned into this new role.”

Because this is Cunningham’s first year as a staff member, Torrens is still working closely with her and the rest of the Leadership team to make a smooth transition.

As the school year kicks into full swing and Cunningham settles into her role as activities coordinator and teacher, she looks forward to meeting more students on campus and helping student leadership reach its fullest potential.

“The SHS Leadership students are a remarkable group of young people,” Cunningham said. “In the few events we’ve held so far this year, they have worked so well together and truly have demonstrated a ‘teamwork makes the dream work’ mentality.”

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