Gunn principal announces resignation

District veteran Villalobos latest in string of administrator departures

After four years of leading the school, Henry M. Gunn High School Principal Katya Villalobos announced her resignation in an email to the Gunn community on March 24. Her last day in office will be June 30, the same day Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) Superintendent Kevin Skelly is set to resign.

Villalobos, who has worked in the district for nearly ten years — at Gunn and Palo Alto High School as a history teacher — stated in the email that she aims to “pursue new opportunities, including a doctoral program.”

“[Villalobos] has a good heart and truly cares about the well being of her students,” an anonymous Gunn parent posted on Palo Alto Online’s Town Square forum. “She has been in a difficult situation of trying to broaden the outlook of a faculty that seems to be particularly powerful and resistant to change.”

However, Villalobos’s resignation came as a relief to some community members.

“Gunn needs a capable, strong leader who can stand up to the cadre of teachers who have been running the school since [Noreen] Likins left,” an anonymous Gunn parent posted on Palo Alto Online’s Town Square forum. “Gunn deserves a good principal.”

The announcement marks a recent string of high-profile resignations in the district within the last month, following that of Skelly, three elementary school principals, the head of the Palo Alto Adult School and Jordan Middle School Assistant Principal Ellie Slack.

“Let’s just say this: in her resignation email, [Villalobos] forgot to sign it and so she had to send out another one with her name on it,” Gunn senior David Patou said. “That sums up a lot.”