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New principals announced for Gunn and Palo Alto high schools

Original post made on Mar 13, 2020

A current Palo Alto High School assistant principal has been tapped to lead Gunn High School and a Santa Cruz High School principal will lead Paly, the school district announced Friday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 13, 2020, 4:59 PM

Comments (10)

6 people like this
Posted by Independent
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Mar 13, 2020 at 6:59 pm

[Post removed.]


39 people like this
Posted by Former resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 14, 2020 at 12:03 am

I would not wish either principal job on my worst enemy. As evidenced by a snarky comment about both the outgoing principals in the first comment, this is a very hostile place to work in public education. Good luck to both of you. You’ll need it. Palo Alto is toxic. Nice to be away from the negativity, actually. Moving away was a great decision. I thought I would regret moving after growing up in Palo Alto and moving back as an adult. I hope things change and people will allow you to do your job.


16 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2020 at 8:11 am

There are already calls for recalling the board or recalling Austin.

The schools are totally unprepared for a disaster which in earthquake country is ludicrous.

However, it seems to me that instead of planning for earthquakes or the future of education, all that has gone on here in Palo Alto for the last decade is new faces at the top and as soon as there is one criticism of one leader, they start falling like dominoes.

What we need is some stability. We need some of the top people to be looking into online methods of learning. Using Zoom, Schoology, and other technology to improve our schools. What we do not need is the continual call for new people to do a better job than the ones we already have. I can't get over the change of faces. It takes at least a year to get the feel of a leadership role. In education I think it probably takes longer particularly for someone new the area geographically.

I hope these new individuals can stick it out and are allowed to do their jobs. I hope they can lead the schools into the future making 21st century schools rather than putting band aids on 20th century practices. I hope the schools are allowed to run the schools, not the unions and most definitely not the parents.


15 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 14, 2020 at 1:56 pm

The carousel continues to spin. [Portion removed.]


21 people like this
Posted by Jenny
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 14, 2020 at 5:01 pm

Agree with parent. I was surprise to read the experience of the Gunn principal too. The new Paly principal has a wealth of experience in the position. But you never know, I wish her well. Maybe she can work with the teachers and they'll think of her as a colleague instead of an administrator. Denise tried to get the teachers to use Schoology to decrease stress and they resisted.

Every teacher should have certain mandatory requirements: answer emails quickly (some ignore emails), use Schoology and Infinite Campus, be available immediately after school for students. At Paly, some teachers don't even stay for Tutorial, which is the dedicated time that they are supposed to be there for students to contact them.

Basically, the teacher's union is too strong. Administration can't touch them once they get past the 2-year tenure! They only need to try for two years, then anything goes. Go be a teacher! Start at $60K, be a P.E. teacher for nearly $200K after the 5-year salary increases and bonuses in between summer vacation for 2.5 months annually. They don't make 'em like they used to. Only some are dedicated to students in secondary school these days.


16 people like this
Posted by Nervous about new Gunn principal
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 14, 2020 at 5:49 pm

I agree that the new Gunn principal seems particularly under-qualified. "In her current role at Paly, Stratton oversees special education, athletics and the entire freshman class, among other responsibilities." For most of her career she was "an athletic director, physical education teacher and health teacher leader".

Based on that, she would not have been my first choice. Or second choice. Perhaps Austin knows better, or perhaps we had no better candidates. Perhaps we parents are partly to blame for that.

Gunn is a big and demanding school, with a wide variety of kids, all of whom should have a curriculum that suits them. I hope the new principal will not lose sight of that.

Well, at least I have something to worry about now that is not the virus.


10 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 14, 2020 at 8:48 pm

Since part of my post was deleted, I will try to be more diplomatic this time.

For the "best high school in America", what are the minimum educational and work related experiences to be considered as the Principal? What are the preferred requirements?

I hope the new Gunn Principal will show leadership and have the strength and confidence to stand up to the teachers union, and support the students.

The upcoming attempts to provide on-line instruction for the next 4 weeks will reveal those teachers who never embraced Schoology and the other required internet related software. No doubt the teachers union will say that since on-line teaching was never specified in the signed contract with PAUSD, the teachers are not obligated to follow the administration's request now to post educational material.


2 people like this
Posted by Independent
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Mar 19, 2020 at 9:11 am

I hope these new appointments can follow the law, protecting students, unlike the current Paly and Gunn principals, whom cozen reports showed did not do so, conduct which includwd other administrators at Pausd as well.


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 19, 2020 at 11:09 am

Posted by Nervous about new Gunn principal, a resident of Greenmeadow

>> In her current role at Paly, Stratton oversees special education,

So, hopefully, at least she won't be actively hostile to special ed, unlike a lot of recent PAUSD administrators.

>> Gunn is a big and demanding school, with a wide variety of kids, all of whom should have a curriculum that suits them.

"All of whom", in my book, includes Special Ed, and, below average, and average, and basically, "all", not just the kids getting A's in 10 AP classes. For every kid who has to choose between Harvard and Stanford, there are 100 kids going to Foothill.


10 people like this
Posted by Teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 19, 2020 at 1:55 pm

I'm sure they're both competent. It will be nice working with them for two years until they get fired.


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