Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - August 20, 2010

New principals, new construction to greet students

Six of 19 campuses have new leadership, with major construction at Gunn, Paly and Ohlone

Palo Alto students and their families will be greeted by new principals on six campuses when they go back to school Tuesday.

In addition, thousands of students — particularly those at Gunn, Paly and Ohlone — will return to campuses that have become major construction sites.

Principals new in their roles this fall are: Katya Villalobos replacing Noreen Likins at Gunn High; Phil Winston replacing Jacquie McEvoy at Palo Alto High; Katherine Baker replacing the retiring Carmen Giedt at Terman Middle; Jocelyn Garcia-Thorne replacing John Lents at Addison Elementary; John Lents replacing Kathleen Meagher at Duveneck Elementary; and Anne Brown replacing Lupe Garcia at Palo Verde Elementary.

In addition, a spate of retirements left many shoes to fill in the district office:

Superintendent Kevin Skelly promoted Duveneck's Meagher to be district-wide director of elementary education.

Holly Wade comes from the Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District to be director of special education.

Debbra Lindo, former CEO of College Track, becomes director of secondary education and Amy Drolette has been named coordinator of student services.

Major new construction also will greet students on several campuses.

At Paly, the southern section of the quad was filled over the summer with 16 portable classrooms, likely to remain there until 2013, when a new, two-story classroom building and new Media Center are slated for completion.

The Churchill Avenue field containing baseball and softball diamonds also is under reconstruction. It will re-open in February with brand new grass and field configurations, officials said.

At Gunn, 26 portable classrooms were moved over the summer to the parking lot. The cleared space in the former "Titan Village" area of campus will be the site of a new, two-story classroom building. To make up for the parking spaces lost to the portables, new parking will be opened up on the Miranda Avenue side of campus, Villalobos said.

At Ohlone Elementary School, crews will break ground this fall for a new, two-story classroom building adjacent to the school's library and farm.

All of the construction is the result of a $378 million facilities bond passed by district voters in June 2008. The bond program, which will touch all campuses, is intended to upgrade and expand facilities to meet anticipated growth in enrollment.

— Chris Kenrick

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