The Palo Alto school board confirmed a new principal for Juana Briones Elementary School Tuesday night, June 26.
Lisa Hickey, an elementary school principal in the Cupertino Union School District since 2005, will join the Palo Alto district effective July 1.
She replaces Matthew Nagle, principal since 2009, who announced last month he would leave the school to work on projects at the district's central office.
Hickey was one of two finalists interviewed last week by a Juana Briones search team that included parents and teachers.
"I'm really energized that Palo Alto has smaller elementary schools," Hickey told the board Tuesday, noting that her most recent school, Meyerholz Elementary School, has an enrollment of 750. Last year's enrollment at Juana Briones, by contrast, was 415.
"In Palo Alto it's really possible to get to know all the students and parents. Palo Alto has the resources to do what's best for children, keeping the fourth- and fifth-grade class sizes smaller."
Hickey was accompanied by her husband and two sons as well as by her father and mother, a retired school principal.
At Meyerholz, Hickey oversaw both a neighborhood population and a Mandarin-immersion program. Prior to that, she was principal of Sedgwick School, which had a large special education population.
She also worked as an assistant principal and a middle school teacher in Cupertino, and has extensive experience with special education and preschool students.
Hickey earned a bachelor's in sociology from the University of California at Los Angeles as well a master's degrees in interdisciplinary education and educational administration from Santa Clara University.
"Fourteen years ago when I was getting my credential at Santa Clara I said that Palo Alto was my dream job," she said. "I'm just very excited to join the Palo Alto management team."