The Palo Alto Unified School District Board of Education accepted assistant principal John Christiansen’s resignation, which will be effective June 30, and librarian Rachel Kellerman’s retirement, which will be effective June 3, at its meeting tonight. Christiansen has been an assistant principal for the past year, overseeing the English, Visual & Performing Arts and Special Education Departments and evaluating classroom instructors. He also helps run the discipline and attendance programs on campus, and administers restorative justice solutions for student behavior concerns. Upon resignation, he is relocating to Southern California, where he hopes to settle down with his family. “My departure is bittersweet, with mixed emotions and many fond memories of Paly,” Christiansen said. “I love my time here and being here.”
Christiansen said though there are many aspects of Paly that have contributed to his experience, his favorite memories are from Spirit Week.
According to Christiansen, it is important for the next assistant principal, who Principal Adam Paulson will hire, to understand Paly’s unique environment and maintain an optimistic attitude.
“I would say that Paly is a very special place, full of great educators and amazing students. I think one of my keys to success as an administrator at Paly is to always look for the positive in things and to find creative win-win solutions.”
Assistant Principal John Christiansen
Paulson and Assistant Principal Tom Keating declined to comment on Christiansen’s resignation.
Kellerman, who has worked in the District for 16 years and has been a Paly librarian for the past 11 years, said it is time for her to pursue her other interests.
“After working in our careers for 30 years, both my husband and I are retiring at the same time so we can travel and engage in other activities for causes we are passionate about, such as voting rights and preserving open space,” Kellerman said.
As one of the two the librarians, Kellerman said she has worked one-on-one with students — such as helping them find books or conduct research — and collaborated with teachers on lessons or projects, such as the Paly Journalism Archive. Additionally, Kellerman has worked on creating a large collection of books and online resources for students and staff to read and use.
“Ms. Kellerman is a joy to work with. She is an expert librarian and archivist, and I have learned so much from her about library management in the short time I have been at Paly. I have particularly enjoyed her incredible knowledge of Paly history and the history of Palo Alto. She is also a wonderful teacher, calm and engaging, and connects so well with all of Paly’s diverse student body.”
Librarian Assistant Andrew Hernandez
On Feb. 6, Kellerman had the opportunity to cut the ribbon for opening of the new library. She said helping create this space for students has been one of her greatest contributions to Paly. Her colleagues recognize the time and work she put into this project.
“(The new library) took an enormous effort on (Kellerman’s) part,” Library Assistant Deborah Henry said. “She was also behind the scenes packing, unpacking and coming in on weekends to set up new furniture.”
Librarian Sima Thomas, who has shared the job with Kellerman for a few years, will take over full-time after Kellerman’s retirement. Thomas attended Paly as a high schooler and also taught English at Paly prior to becoming a librarian.
Though Kellerman is retiring, she said she plans to stay connected with Paly.
“It has been both a privilege and a joy to work such an amazing community of staff, teachers and students. You’ll still be able to find me working in the archives next year. I will continue to volunteer to continue building and maintaining the journalism archive.”
Librarian Rachel Kellerman
This story will be updated as more information is available.