Stephen Hanson was a primary school teacher at the Palm Island Community School in Queensland, Australia. Following that, Mr. Hanson was the principal of the Alamo Navajo Community School in Alamo, New Mexico for 2 years. He moved back to Australia in 1985 and continued teaching until 1992. In 1993 he wrote the application for Cortez’s first charter school, “Battle Rock,” and became its first director in 1994. Stephen was the director of Colorado Rural Charter Schools Network (non-profit organization) He rounded out his career as a teacher at Kemper Elementary in 2006, and then transferred to Cortez Middle School and became the sixth-grade Social Studies teacher until retirement in 2013.
Being the director of a charter school, Stephen became interested in board governance, as all charter schools are required to be governed by a board. In many circumstances a school director must continually resist the efforts of board members who confuse the ideas of leadership and management leading to micromanagement of daily operations.
Mr. Hanson's interest in solving micromanagement problems led to an in-depth study of governance in Atlanta at the Carver Policy Governance Academy. After completing a course of study, he was asked to join the Colorado State Board for Charter Schools to represent the rural constituency around the state. He served on the state board for four years. Stephen also became the board president for Battle Rock Charter School, and vice president of the Southwest Open High School board. He worked as a governance trainer and presented sessions to many schools in the state over the next few years.
According to Stephen, "I joined the board of Onward! in 2014 after learning of the many fine things this organization was doing to promote and support our community. My interest in non-profit organizations and financial investment has been enhanced through involvement with Onward!. Finally, I am happy to be serving on a board where debate is welcomed, and decisions are consensual. This is a board that truly understands the leadership role it plays in our community, and the value of superb management of our assets. Because of these circumstances, I am proud and delighted to be a part of the phenomenal growth of our organization."