Founders Q & A
Jessica Hanson and Sarah Peterson met in 2003 while teaching together as the science and math faculty on the 7th grade team at University Prep in Seattle, where they developed tremendous respect for each other as educators. Though both were ultimately drawn to new roles, Sarah and Jessica have continued to work together in the years since their days on the 7th grade team as they’ve taken on various school leadership positions. In 2020, they became Co-Founders of The Hatch School. This dynamic duo brings decades of experience in education to HATCH.
Sarah, Jessica, when you aren’t founding a school in Seattle, what do you like to do in your free time?
Sarah: Of course, I love spending time with my family - my spouse Ash, and my sons Hank (11) and Freddie (7). We all love to swim and have spent a huge portion of this summer at the pool. When I take time for myself, you might find me reading, lifting weights, crafting, or baking - I even participated in the Great Beacon (Hill) Bake-Off competition while quarantining last fall.
Jessica: Spending time with my family is wonderful, and my kids Ingrid (17) and Oskar (15) keep me and my husband, Max, on our toes, for sure! We spend a lot of time together laughing at memes and playing with our dogs, Porter and Chewie. When I’m not mom-ing or working, I enjoy decorating fancy cakes, creating all types of textile arts, and exploring the PNW outdoors.
What’s a course that you love to teach?
Sarah: I am passionate about statistics! It’s really bananas that most high schools spend way more time preparing students to take calculus - which, while delightful, isn’t particularly useful for most folks - and spend very little time on statistics. Statistical literacy is as important for participating in adult life as reading or writing, and I love having the opportunity to help students learn really relevant skills for interpreting claims made from data.
Jessica: I love all things DNA, from basic Punnett squares to advanced molecular biology lab techniques. In my 9th and 11th grade classes we’ve been able to dig into thorny questions such as who owns your DNA sequence data, who should decide which diseases are addressed by gene editing, and how do we prevent molecular medicine from only being accessible to the wealthy and increasing existing disparities in access to health care? These are the timely issues that today’s students will need to wrestle with, and I’m excited to help them process both the science and the ethics.
What are you watching, reading, or listening to right now?
Sarah: I mean, aside from RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars 6?? I recently finished Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves and have been enjoying the Atlantic/WNYC podcast The Experiment, which investigates manifestations of uniquely American culture and ideals.
Jessica: I’m obsessed with the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, and it sends me down any number of TV and film rabbit holes. I am also a person who reads MANY books at the same time, so on my nightstand right now you’ll find Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, Alison Bechdel’s The Secret to Superhuman Strength, The Rose Code by Kate Quinn, and Desert Person by Claire Saffitz.
Jessica has held significant and varied school roles as an educator and administrator, most recently as a science teacher. Jessica is also one of the founders of the Oxbow School in Napa, California, and has previously worked in single-gender education at Newton Country Day School. She is ready to found another school and bring a different kind of girls’ education to the Seattle area.
Sarah most recently served as the Associate Director of the Upper School and member of the math faculty at University Prep, and previously has served UPrep as department chair and program coordinator for the diversity and community office. In 2020, Sarah completed the NWAIS Pathways to Leadership program for aspiring female heads of school.