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Kristin M. Olson
First Lutheran School
Evangelical Lutheran Education Association
Torrance, California

Even though she has only been principal since 2013, Kristin Olson has been a leader at First Lutheran School for over twenty years. Beginning as a teacher, then serving as the Interim Principal and Assistant Principal, she has used her energy and creative abilities to successfully foster the growth of her students. Olson’s colleagues agree with her claim that one of her biggest achievements is providing high-quality education despite having limited resources. By closely monitoring the school's budget, she has continued to meet the diverse needs of the 550, Pre-K through eighth-grade students at First Lutheran. This past year, for example, Olson collaborated with the Parent Teacher Fellowship to secure ten new iPads for the classroom. She is also known for her ability to provide extended learning experiences, including an annual ten-day field trip to the East Coast for eighth grade students. “The effort Kris puts into this aspect of First Lutheran education is based on her deep belief that experiential learning is a key component in student engagement,” says parent Randal Snyder. By personally chaperoning the field trips, helping with after-school tutoring, and stepping in as a teacher when she is needed, Olson has clearly modeled a hands-on learning approach for her students. She holds a B.A. and a California Clear Teaching Credential from California Lutheran University as well as an M.Ed. from California State University.