Juana Briones gets new principal

Elementary principal from Cupertino Union School District replaces Matthew Nagle

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."

Chris Kenrick


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Posted by Maya
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 28, 2012 at 8:05 am

"To work on projects at the districts central office." Seems to me there are many now administrators who have left their work with students in the classroom, or as Principals, "to work on projects at the district central office." With the current budget crisis and the public outraged at the prospect of Teachers getting a 1 time 1% raise, these "projects" must be very, very, important. Make no mistake, that is a 6 digit salary that goes along with that "project" work.

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Posted by Judy
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 28, 2012 at 11:43 am

Matthew Nagle was a wonderful principal who truly cared about the children. I wish Mrs. Hickey the best of luck, but there is no need to disrespect Mr. Nagle, Moh.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Annabelle Remmers
a resident of another community
on Jun 28, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Juana Briones is very fortunate to have Lisa Hickey for a principal. I was her secretary at Sedgwick School and she gives 1000% of herself to her school. I'm very happy for Lisa and for the Juana Briones community.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2012 at 5:38 pm

You are fortunate to no longer have a "man" such as Matt Nagle responsible for your school!. He does not care about children nor does he care about his staff. He has spent very little time actually teaching! A "project" in the district office could just mean a way to keep from destroying a strong staff! The Juana Briones staff was fortunate not to suffer under him as long as other schools in his past principalships! Count your children lucky as well!

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 20, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Mr. Nagle was an excellent principal from the vast majority parents' and students' perspectives who dealt with him closely. There was a small number of people who were dissatisfied and projected their personal issues onto the entire community (imo, unfairly). But as is obvious on this forum, this tiny group was very noisy, disruptive, and myopic. Best wishes to Ms. Hickey, I hope she gets a fair shake by all.

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