Palo Alto Weekly

News - March 28, 2014

Gunn principal Villalobos to step down

After four years of leading Gunn, she will move to Palo Alto Adult School

by Chris Kenrick

Gunn High School Principal Katya Villalobos announced Tuesday she will step down June 30 after four years of leading the school.

She will become head of the Palo Alto Adult School, replacing Kara Rosenberg, who is retiring in June.

In an announcement to the school staff and an email to Gunn families, Villalobos said she had "made the decision to leave Gunn and pursue new opportunities, including a doctoral program."

"I will miss working with and supporting students, staff and the community," she said. "Above all, I will miss our shared commitment to the well-being and success of every student that the community has supported so passionately."

Villalobos' announcement follows last week's that three other principals, including Rosenberg, will retire in June. Also retiring are Fairmeadow Elementary School Principal Gary Prehn and Ohlone Elementary School Principal Bill Overton.

In addition, Addison Elementary School Principal Jocelyn Garcia-Thome will be leaving at the end of the school year to "explore other career possibilities," according to a district news release. Garcia-Thome had been at Addison since 2010 after eight years with IBM and three with Hewlett-Packard. Before her industry experience, she had served as a principal, assistant principal and school psychologist in Campbell.

Assistant Superintendent Scott Bowers has begun meeting with site leaders at the various schools to initiate a principal search process, Superintendent Kevin Skelly said.

Skelly himself plans to resign June 30 and the Board of Education has launched a search to find a replacement by that time.

Villalobos, a history teacher, came to Palo Alto as a student teacher in 1995 and — save for one year — has worked at Gunn or Palo Alto High School ever since. Born in El Salvador, she was educated at Mercy High School in Burlingame and UCLA and earned a teaching credential from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont.

"Through the years, I have learned so much from your students and the staff about why Gunn is truly a special place with its welcoming and safe culture, innovative community, and hard-working staff," she said in an email to Gunn families.

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