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Robotics leader to head Mountain Vista High

For The Madera Tribune

Allan Hollman.


When Allan Hollman was called to the podium by Superintendent Todd Lile at Madera Unified’s Aug. 27 school board meeting, he was given some good news: Lile announced that he had been promoted to principal of Mountain Vista High School.

Hollman responded with a broad grin and a, “Go Panthers (the school’s mascot)!”

The new leader of Mountain Vista High is a 26-year Madera Unified veteran. He comes to his new position from alternative education where he was vice-principal. Before that, Hollman served as teacher, vice principal and principal at Madera High, but his real claim to fame is the Robotics program that he initiated in 2012.

Quiet and unassuming, when Holman started teaching robotics at Madera High, and one class period didn’t provide enough time, he taught the kids after school. That kind of dedication is what built the reputation Hollman has gained in Madera. Lile illustrated this when introducing the new principal and his new assignment.

“Alan Hollman has an amazing heart for kids and has unquestionable dedication and integrity,” Lile said, as he introduced Hollman to the audience. “The Mountain Vista staff has been incredibly successful in working through very difficult challenges to be one of the best schools in Madera Unified. Mr. Hollman and the team at Mountain Vista will be a dynamic partnership that we can count on to help students for years to come.”

An abundance of praise and respect abound in the school district and throughout the community for Hollman’s influence in bringing world-wide notoriety to Madera as a result of the success of Madera High’s robotics program, including the world championship last year. As former trustee Michael Salvador said at the first Robotics competition in Madera, “Without the vision and dedication of Alan Hollman, Madera wouldn’t even have a robotics team, much less this tournament.”

Hollman was always quick to place the praise where he thought it belonged. He always gave the credit for his team’s performance in the high stakes tournaments to the character and determination of the team members.

Hollman also had praise for the entire community of Madera. “Without all of the volunteers, the school district, and the local financial sponsors, the Central Valley Regional competition would never have taken place in Madera,” Hollman said.

Hollman graduated from Pender High School in Pendar, Neb., in 1978. After transplanting to California, he matriculated at Fresno State and pursued the study of Geomatics. He later transferred to Fresno Pacific University and changed his major to math and engineering.

Upon graduating from college, Hollman was hired as an intern in Mariposa’s Junior High School, teaching math. His first year in the classroom, with no experience, was not what he had expected. When he left Mariposa at the end of that year he thought about pursuing a different career, but found that he wasn’t quite ready to give up on teaching.

In 1993, he accepted a position teaching math at Madera High School. His second year of teaching proved that he had made the right move, and within a few years, he came up with the idea of a robotics program for Madera. At that point, his professional life took a major turn.

Soon he was leading Madera’s robotics team in what some called the “super bowl of smarts” as Madera High School’s vice principal of the School of Engineering and Technology.

Hollman didn’t let any grass grow under his feet after the school board made his promotion official at the Aug. 27 board meeting. The next day he went right to work. He told the Tribune that he knows most of the staff and is confident that together they will make a difference in the lives of Mountain Vista’s students.

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