Last June, Principal Phil Winston sent out an email to the Palo Alto High School community announcing his resignation. After having a life-threatening illness, Winston decided to pursue a classroom position in Palto Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) in order to find a better work-life balance.
In his three years as principal, Winston brought innovative and creative ideas not only to the learning in the classroom, but also to the communication and collaboration between the students and the administration.Winston moved the classroom forward with regards to technology, bringing Paly to the forefront of educational development. He embraced technology in the classroom, not just in the form of PowerPoints, but also using technology to help students learn, such as online learning instruction and online tutorials.
He was a pioneer in the blended learning classroom, which focuses on online instruction in addition to teacher guided practice. A new blended learning class — Advanced Placement Music Theory — was just implemented in the last year of his administration.
One of the greatest legacies that Winston left behind was greatly improved visibility and approachability of the administration. He had administrators out on the Quad during brunch and lunch as well as in and out of classrooms, even if they were just five to ten minute walkthroughs.
He built a stronger connection between the adults and the students on campus, so that students feel as if they can talk to administrators. Winston dedicated time to visit classrooms, more so than any recent principal, to have more of a presence in classrooms and be aware of what students were learning.
Winston was involved not just in the classroom and around campus, but also during school events. He showed great school spirit as the principal: attending football games, robotics regionals and participating in Spirit Week. His administration was approachable, innovative and overall, well-liked.
In the midst of all the current activity within the administration — the welcoming of a new principal and assistant principal — The Campanile would like to wish Winston farewell and thank him for the seven years of office and dedication as a PAUSD administrator, three of which he was principal here at Paly, and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.
Additionally, we would like to congratulate Kim Diorio on her promotion to principal and we wish her good luck in her new position.