Amy Hollinger

  • Head of Schools

    Rolling Hills Prep, Renaissance
    & REACH Schools 

  • Address

    One Rolling Hills Prep, San Pedro

  • Phone

    310-791-1101

  • Website

    rollinghillsprep.org

  • Special Section

    Women in Business

Rolling Hills Prep, Renaissance and REACH Schools focus on individualized learning approaches that are inclusive toward all styles of learners—ranging from self-directed students seeking opportunities and challenges to students with a variety of learning differences who benefit from alternative approaches to learning that allow them to thrive.  

Head of schools Amy Hollinger began her position in July. An educator with 27 years of experience, she was previously the head of school of an independent school in Seattle. She has worked in both public and independent schools and has taught all grades from kindergarten to college, as well as serving in various administrative and leadership roles across the country.


What does your school stand for?

“We focus on fit—we provide the ‘right-fit’ education for every student and make sure they move on to the ‘right fit’ in terms of college placement. We provide a high-quality, individualized education for all students, maximizing their potential. We are a small school environment, which allows us to be nimble, provide opportunities for students across disciplines (the arts, athletics, academics) and provide the right amount of scaffolding to allow students to be successful. Students are challenged in their areas of strength and supported in areas that need improvement.”


What’s new and exciting with your schools? 

“Apart from having a new head of schools (me), we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of Rolling Hills Prep’s founding. Also, we are working to create a more cohesive community identity and environment for all three of our schools.”


What would be your ideal next big opportunity?

“Growing our community of schools. We are the best hidden gem in Southern California.”


In what ways do you empower other women to succeed in business? 

“As a female leader, I work diligently to observe and name biases in myself, my organizations and those I lead. This fosters honest conversations about gender bias that negatively affect women in the workforce and other facets of society. I have witnessed difficulties with gender bias as I’ve moved through organizational ranks, and I feel that one of the most important steps of inclusivity is naming and identifying dynamics that hold women back in the workforce.”


What is the silver lining of the recent pandemic for your schools? 

“The pandemic has drastically altered practically every facet of daily life for our schools. However, these changes have encouraged us to seek new opportunities and think outside the box with our programming, activities and even learning spaces to the degree that many of our COVID-19 solutions have highlighted positive practices that can take place when normalcy resumes. Additionally, limitations with social interaction have highlighted how enthusiastic both our students and teachers are to connect—making us more grateful for the time we can spend with each other, even when we’re implementing safety measures such as masks and distancing.”


Where do you find your inspiration?

“I find my inspiration in looking both inward and outward. In my organization, looking inward I am inspired by the commitment and dedication of the people in my community of schools. From our teachers to our students to our parents and board members, the people I get to work with are amazing. Outwardly I look for strong female and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) leaders. Hearing their stories is both inspiring and a call to action for me.”


How do you encourage greatness in your team members?

“I believe strongly in hiring great people, giving them the tools and resources they need to be successful and then getting out of their way to allow them the freedom and flexibility to do the things they were hired to do.”


What is your best piece of advice for a woman just starting in your line of work?

“Find a cohort of other female leaders in education. Having a group that is living the same experience as you will not only inspire you to do great work but also support you when times are hard—like leading a school during a global pandemic.”


How would your school community describe you? 

“Our community knows I care deeply about our students and their education. I am a straight shooter, facing challenges head-on using an empathetic lens. I have a solid foundation in progressive individualized education and a front-burner commitment to educational equity.”


In what ways are you reaching out and helping those in need in our community? 

“Due to our direct involvement with young people, we are constantly assessing and supporting their well-being—providing a positive school experience and working to ensure that our educational programs are equitable and accessible. The lives of young people have been drastically affected by the pandemic, and we encourage everyone to be empathetic, supportive and patient with young people because many of the important coming-of-age experiences in their lives have been minimized or altered in ways that are difficult for them.”