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Resignation triggers changes at schools

Original post made on Apr 4, 2008

The resignation of Fairmeadow Elementary School Principal Lisa Gonzales has triggered an administrative version of musical chairs, including new principals for Palo Verde and EL Carmelo elementary schools.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 4, 2008, 4:16 PM

Comments (17)

Posted by Palo Verde Parent, a resident of Palo Verde School
on Apr 4, 2008 at 4:50 pm

I for one will be really sorry to see Eric Goddard leave and Fairmeadow are getting a real gem. Eric knows every one of the students by name and most of the parents also. He is the most visible principal I have ever known and is willing to help kids open lunches as well as the more traditional principal roles. He waves at everyone and feels like everyone's friend.

Hopefully, our new principal will be cut from similar cloth.


Posted by pa mom, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 4, 2008 at 5:37 pm

WOW - I'm shocked to hear Lupe Garcia is leaving El Carmelo! We will surely miss him as well!


Posted by cb, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 4, 2008 at 5:57 pm

As a new Palo Alto resident, I am curious about Fairmeadow. It is the neighborhood school for our house, but I haven't heard much about it, except what I have read on school-related websites (e.g., school rankings and test scores, etc). Any opinions from local people about what Fairmeadow is really like would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Posted by another pv parent, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 4, 2008 at 6:16 pm

Eric Goddard has been a wonderful principal for Palo Verde! We will surely miss him. I have heard some great things about Mr. Garcia and look forward to meeting him.

Fairmeadow, you're lucky to have Eric. Treat him well.


Posted by Fairmeadow Parent, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 4, 2008 at 8:06 pm

We will definitely treat Eric Goddard well and welcome him to the Fairmeadow family. We are a warm, close-knit school with terrific teachers, involved parents and diverse, happy students.


Posted by El Carmelo Parent, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 4, 2008 at 8:28 pm

I am sad to hear that Lupe Garcia will be leving El Carmelo. He has been a wonderful principal and any school would be lucky to have him. We will really miss him.


Posted by 2nd Grader, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 4, 2008 at 10:00 pm

We will be very very sad to see Eric leave .... he has been there since we first came to Palo Verde.


Posted by Penny Ellson, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 5, 2008 at 12:36 pm

In my PTA volunteer work, I have worked with both Eric Goddard and Lupe Garcia. I have been impressed with both of them. As a Fairmeadow parent, I will be very happy to welcome Eric to our school.

Lupe Garcia is a skilled administrator who clearly has enjoyed working in the El Carmelo community. He is a relationship builder. I have seen him collaborate very effectively on EC's behalf with city government and the City School Traffic Safety Committee. My friends at El Carmelo have said wonderful things about him. Palo Verde will be lucky to have him.

I know that El Carmelo has a strong and vibrant community fabric. Lupe has been there a long time, and this will be a big change, but if the article is correct, it sounds as though Lupe is seeking some new challenges...as talented people often do. It is good that PAUSD has a position that will provide him with that opportunity. I'd hate to see PAUSD lose a talented administrator because he was seeking opportunity that they couldn't offer.

To answer the question about Fairmeadow. Our family has been very happy at Fairmeadow. My oldest (of two) daughters will graduate from Fairmeadow next year. We have had a wonderful experience...excellent teachers and a strong parent community that is tied to our neighborhood community. My kids love going to school there...What more can I say? When your child LOVES to go to school, you know you are in a good place.

Our former principal, Scott Bowers, was promoted out of Fairmeadow to his present position at 25 Churchill. The principal who followed him, Judy Barranti, came out of retirement and was HIRED AS AN INTERIM principal. She was a well-liked, personable, and talented administrator, and she stayed beyond the period she'd planned until a serious family illness necessitated her departure.

The present Fairmeadow principal says she is leaving because she realized that she preferred to work in a district that provides more opportunity to work with economically disadvantaged kids. She is a young woman who is defining her career growth path. It wasn't a good fit.

Organizations change because the people within them grow and change.
I plan to wait and see how things play out...and trust that we will all work together toward making these transitions as seamless as possible for everyone involved, especially our children.

I feel blessed to be part of this community with its many talented students, parents, teachers and administrators.

Penny Ellson




Posted by Kinder08PVParent, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2008 at 5:44 pm

Our son will be in K @ Palo Verde in August 2008. We have no experience with either Eric Goddard or Lupe Garcia (infact no major experience with the school district either).

From the article and the other comments it is very clear that both the Principals are very talented -- every talented person seeks new pastures to grow his/her talents and hence a transition is inevitable at some point or the other.

Eric going to Farimeadows - the school has had three changes in four years. Eric being a long-term adminstrator in PAUSD will bring in stability, limit further transition and so on ..

But .. what are the challenges in Palo Verde that are attractive to Lupe? Lupe sounds like a seasoned adminstrator in the school district. I am sure he will add value to the school bring in a lot of good changes .. the question in our mind is - what is so broken at Palo Verde that caught Lupe's attention?


Posted by cb, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 5, 2008 at 7:02 pm

Thank you to Penny. It is great to hear the details that you provided, instead of wondering what might have happened to result in so much turnover at Fairmeadow.


Posted by One PV parent, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 6, 2008 at 1:19 am

can we possibly accept that there is nothing wrong with Palo Verde and that Lupe joining our community will be for mutual growth? Of course no organization is perfect, but in my estimation Palo Verde doesn't need fixing... welcome Lupe.


Posted by Paly Grad, a resident of Fairmeadow School
on Apr 6, 2008 at 5:06 am

As a "older previous" student of Mr. Garcia, I just wanted to say that I think he's one of the most wonderful person and teacher that anyone could have! He was the biggest supporter when I was facing some challenges and really teaches his students to believe in themselves and strive for success.

I wish him all the best and the PV community is so lucky to be getting a strong leader. I am also glad to hear such good things about Mr. Goddard for I am now a part of the Fairmeadow family.


Posted by kl, a resident of another community
on Apr 6, 2008 at 12:01 pm

cb- its been 25 years since I was a student at Fairmeadow, but if the school is anything like it was then, you and your children will love being there. I have many happy memories of being a student there. Its a wonderful school and a great neighborhood to grow up in.


Posted by mg, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 6, 2008 at 6:03 pm

I have been an employee of the PAUSD for 9 years, the last 3 at Fairmeadow. It is a really, really fine school. I worked for a year at Palo Verde when Eric was just starting. I remember him as a valuable presence at the school, liked by both staff and faculty. It was a happy campus. Eric was approachable, friendly, and open. I am glad he's coming to FM!


Posted by David Cohen, a resident of El Carmelo School
on Apr 8, 2008 at 12:56 am

I'm glad to see such a positive response to these changes. It reflects the quality of the people and institutions involved, and the support they've generated in the community. Speaking as an El Carmelo parent, I'm sorry to see Lupe go, but glad for him and glad to keep him in PAUSD.

But as a post script, I'm curious why folks are so addicted to anonymity on this forum. If we were posting negative comments, I might understand, but among all these positive statements only Penny's includes a name. Just a thought... let's try being ourselves.


Posted by mg, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 8, 2008 at 4:31 pm

Dear David,

I agree with you about choosing to sign their posts anonymously . As I am an employee of the PAUSD, I didn't feel comfortable revealing my name, even though my comments were benign and, in fact, positive. Anyone who is familiar with Fairmeadow will know who I am, anyway! (Or maybe not).

I signed myself as a member of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, which in actuality I am not. I live in Midtown.



Posted by Sad To Be Moving On, a resident of Fairmeadow School
on Apr 10, 2008 at 11:54 am

This is my last of eight years at Fairmeadow. I will miss it immensely. Though my kids had to adjust somewhat to any new rules each principal brought with them, this was only a minor adjustment for them (probably a significant adjustment for the staff but only minor for the kids). I figure life is full of these kind of adjustments so it was good for my kids. The teachers have been very stable at Fairmeadow. And there are so many great teachers; teachers who REALLY love the children and so want the best for them. Every year as I progressed through the grades, I was continually amazed at the opportunities our kids are getting. I am always telling them "I didn't get to do that when I was in elementary school". In third grade, I swore I met the best teacher my kids would ever find. But then the next grade level came, I was pleasantly surprised again and then the fifth grade teachers blew me away again. The teachers seem to be a happy close nit group and I think Eric is going to fit in perfectly.


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