School district hires new wellness coordinator

Brenda Carrillo, from the county office of education, to work on student mental health efforts

The Palo Alto school district will hire a county education worker to coordinate district efforts on the social-emotional health of students.

Brenda Carrillo, coordinator of student health and safety for the Santa Clara County Office of Education since 2010, was nominated to become Palo Alto's coordinator of student services Wednesday by Superintendent Kevin Skelly.

The position was created in 2010 after a string of Palo Alto student deaths by suicide shook the community and led the district and others to boost and coordinate their efforts on student mental health.

Carrillo replaces Amy Drolette, who held the position for two years before leaving in June to become an assistant principal at Los Gatos High School.

Drolette co-chaired, along with a city staff member, Palo Alto Project Safety Net, a community coalition that formed in response to the suicides. Project Safety Net coalition members hold monthly public meetings to share information related to student mental health.

Drolette also coordinated a variety of other efforts to support student wellness on Palo Alto's 17 public school campuses, tracking a range of programs including anti-bullying curricula in the elementary schools and a wellness framework known as the Developmental Assets.

Carrillo has worked in program management, counseling and teaching, including work as a teacher in the Palo Alto district's Saturday Math Academy from 2008 to 2010.

She earned a bachelor's degree in social work from San Jose State University and masters degrees, in social work and educational leadership, from Santa Clara University.

She is currently enrolled in a doctoral program in educational equity at the University of California at Berkeley.

"I look forward to contributing to the significant efforts that the district and community are already engaged in to support student health and success," Carrillo said.

"I hope to enhance services to students and school communities that promote well-being and academic achievement in partnership with parents, community leaders and school staff."

Chris Kenrick


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Posted by m2
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 12, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Guess the Daubers/Bill Johnson/No homework/Anti-stress crowd can chalk up another victory. They cowed the school board into screwing up the calendar, weakening the graduation requirements and now this. The only goal they haven't achieved is getting the board to fire Skelly. Guess that's their Job 1 for next fall.

Like this comment
Posted by DDee
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 12, 2012 at 2:13 pm

By all means let us throw money at the symptoms, and if we must, at the immediate causes lest we be forced to look deeper and see ourselves and the local culture we adults have crafted reflected back at us in the dark mirror of our children's pain.

Like this comment
Posted by Carl
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 12, 2012 at 6:00 pm

One person's social-emotional health is another person's dribble. What a waste of money.

Like this comment
Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2012 at 6:03 pm

DDee - Bravo!!
and - I may be wrong, but seems to me that direct comments (such as DDee's) regarding the Emperor's clothes wore by Palo Alto kids - the local culture enabling horrific results - turn off comments by those who know what others should do. Maybe it is time for some direct talk. It is STILL not too late for some kids.

Like this comment
Posted by they are guilty!
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 13, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Yes and did you know that the Johnson/Dauber/no homework/anti-stress gang conspiracy also assassinated Abraham Lincoln AND JFK? I hear they were in Havanna just beforehand. And so incivil. Good thing we have this board of review to monitor civility in this community! Thanks m2 for keeping it polite and reasonable, not like those other people. Who let them move to Palo Alto anyway? Sheesh.

Like this comment
Posted by Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 15, 2012 at 9:25 am

If PAUSD wanted to make a real improvement in the stress level of their high school students, they would hire additional professional staff in the college counseling office. There are many college admissions-related questions that students have from the time they register as 8th graders, from course selection to enrichment planning, and the current setup leaves them floundering to answer those questions on their own. We have found it difficult to get phone calls or emails returned from college counseling, and the parent volunteers don't know enough to be useful.

Like this comment
Posted by daubfree
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 17, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Suicides are caused by mental illness, and that tends to run in families. We have a mental illness cluster which causes a suicide cluster. No amount of counselling can change that

Like this comment
Posted by idiotcluster
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 25, 2012 at 4:02 pm

"Mental Illness Cluster" -- is that the new PAUSD Ben and Jerry's flavor or just some crap you made up? #privateschoolistheanswer

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