Kimberly Diorio, assistant principal at Palo Alto High School for the past six years, was named principal of the school Monday.
Diorio, who began her counseling and administrative career at schools in Pennsylvania and Connecticut, replaces Phil Winston, who held the job for the past three years.
Winston resigned June 17, saying a recent brush with a "life-threatening illness" was prompting him to seek greater work-life balance. He asked to be reassigned to a teaching job.
Superintendent Kevin Skelly said Diorio has been instrumental in master scheduling, implementing new technology systems such as Naviance, Mytonomy and Docufide and streamlining the college application process for students, parents and staff. Naviance is an online platform for college and career planning; Mytonomy is a "near-peer" social network designed to bring alumni advice to students and Docufide is an electronic transcript service.
"Mrs. Diorio is an outstanding leader who is committed to the success of all students," Skelly said. A selection committee of students, parents, Paly and district staff was "impressed by her focus on learning and dedication to the school, staff and parents and her professional growth over the past six years," he said.
Diorio said she is "thrilled to serve the Palo Alto community as Principal at Paly, and I look forward to continuing our student-centered approach to innovative teaching and learning."
Diorio worked in Pennsylvania and Connecticut for eight years, moving to the Palo Alto Unified School District in 2005 to counsel students at JLS Middle School and Gunn High School. She became assistant principal of Paly in the fall of 2007.
She received a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in counseling and human relations from Villanova University, and currently is working toward a doctorate in education from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara. Fielding uses a combination of online learning and face-to-face events to accommodate the learning needs of working students.