Michelle Hogan


Kaitlyn Cook

A woman, fresh out of college, working in a diner, not knowing what she wanted to do with her life, knew only that she wanted to do something with her hard-earned English degree. That woman is none other than SFHS’ own Michelle Hogan.

Ms. Hogan joined the staff at Santa Fe High School in 2016 and, until 2023, taught sophomore English. But then, after a 16-year career of teaching English, she transitioned to a new opportunity working with the SFPS Work-Based Learning Program.

“This program has exploded in growth over the past two years,” Ms. Hogan explained, adding that in the summer of 2023, 93 SFPS students successfully completed internships. For the 2023-2024 school year, more than 70 students are enrolled in the program at SFHS alone, and students are able to choose their paid internship opportunity from over 40 local businesses.

In Ms. Hogan’s Work-Based Learning class (ACE), students begin the year learning about local businesses, personal finance, and employability skills. By October, they begin interviewing and are placed in paid internships that go through April.

Ms. Hogan said she is grateful to be working with students in this new way and “proud to watch them become capable and confident young professionals.”

Ms. Hogan grew up in Rockford, Ill., where she attended Rock Valley Community College and worked as a waitress. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 1996 and then enrolled in Rockford College to take graduate-level courses for her teaching degree.

“When I started substituting for high school students, I was like ‘Ah ha! This is what I like to do,’ ” she said. “I was 26 or 27 by the time I figured it out.”

Ms. Hogan said she enjoyed teaching English because she was drawn to the content and to talking about literature. She has a passion for helping students with their writing and loves connecting with students through engaging conversations.

“There’s just something about being in the company of young people that makes me happy. I like other teachers as well,” Ms. Hogan said.

Ms. Hogan occupies her time outside of school  by running, reading, watching “garbage television,” and hanging with her two kids, who are 10 and 12. She taught for many years before becoming a mom and says that having children has changed the way she teaches and the way she sees her students.

“Having kids, especially kids who aren’t really wild about school, has kind of made me see what it’s like on the other side. It makes me remember what kind of student I was and why it can be harder than it seems on the other side,” Ms. Hogan said. “Teaching is like having a party that no one wants to come to, and I remember what it was like not wanting to go to that party.”

Michelle’s office is in A-Building across from A-136.