District plans administrator shifts

Superintendent McGee announces changes in elementary school principals at four sites

Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) Superintendent Dr. Max McGee announced his plans to change administrators at the elementary level for the 2015-2016 school year.

The planned shifts currently involve switching principals at four elementary schools. Palo Verde Elementary School Principal Anne Brown will take over as principal of Barron Park Elementary School, as current Barron Park Principal Magdalena Fittoria will transition to a position in the district office. Fittoria will become the Special Projects Administrator, focusing on minority achievement and talent development. Additionally, El Carmelo Elementary School Principal Chuck Merritt will swap positions with Escondido Elementary School Principal Danae Reynolds.

McGee announced the upcoming changes in a press release on March 6. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Scott Bowers assured parents and staff that he would work closely with the individual elementary school communities, especially that of Palo Verde, where the district has yet to name a successor for principal, to ensure a positive replacement.

“PAUSD is in a process of making systemic changes that will strengthen programs and services in our elementary schools and across the district,” McGee said in the March 6 press release. “Matching the expertise of these leaders with the districts’ critical needs is fundamental to our goal of continuous improvement, and I am confident they will make broad and important contributions to students, staff, and families in their new roles.”

Brown, who will be leaving Palo Verde for Barron Park, fully supports Dr. McGee’s decision in making leadership changes.

“I believe movement of principals brings great opportunities for a principal, a school and the district as a whole,” Brown said.

Brown believes that the message the district sends through the changes in leadership parallel with the lessons taught at the school sites themselves.

“Our district encourages staff to never be satisfied with the status quo,” Brown said. “We all need to be lifelong learners, searching for new opportunities to stretch, for the good of students and ourselves.”

Brown also expressed excitement for the learning opportunities for herself and the individual school sites.

“Moving schools helps me to learn more about our entire district and all of the various communities,” Brown said.
“Moving principals allows the opportunity for everyone’s strengths to be shared throughout the district. What I can offer a staff may be different from the next principal. I would hate to deprive my current school from learning from another leader who can make positive changes that I may have not been able to make. Change might be tough at times, but it is worthwhile and healthy for everyone.”