|Kevin Skelly, associate superintendent of the Poway Unified School District in San Diego County, has been selected to be the new superintendent of the Palo Alto Unified School District, the school board disclosed in a surprise announcement Tuesday night after a closed session.
He will replace Mary Frances Callan, who announced that she will retire at the end of this school year. Skelly is to begin as the new Palo Alto superintendent this summer. Board members will make a validation visit to Poway on Monday.
"Kevin cares deeply about students and their overall academic growth and well being," Poway Superintendent Don Phillips, a former Palo Alto schools superintendent, said of Skelly.
"Kevin impressed the board with his intellect, his excitement for education, his experience working with all kids of youth and his vision for the future," Palo Alto board President Camille Townsend said.
"His reputation as a bright, forward thinking, good listener, and a creative problem solver came through to each of us as he talked about his excitement for educating his children in Palo Alto's schools," Townsend added.
"His building on the many and varied strengths of the district came through to us as a commitment to all our students and our community."
Skelly, who oversees "learning support services" for the Poway district, obtained a BA with honors in economics from Harvard University in 1983. He received a Ph.D. in educational policy and management from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1993.
Prior to his current position at Poway, Skelly served 11 years as principal of Saratoga High School. He began his career in education teaching high-school math and worked with students from disadvantaged neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. He also taught Spanish in Oakland for two years.
Skelly is married and has four children.
Members of the Palo Alto school board will travel to Poway Monday (May 7) for a validation visit to meet with members of the Poway school district community.
Skelly as associate superintendent is third in command of the K-12 Poway Unified district, which operates under a $336 million annual budget covering a large area of northern San Diego County. It has 2,800 employees, and covers from suburban San Diego to rural Poway, an area of about 100 square miles.
The district has 21 K-5 elementary schools, five middle schools (grades 6-8), three comprehensive high schools and one continuation high school, and has 32,456 students and about 2,800 staff members.
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