Town Square

Kevin Skelly takes over as superintendent

Original post made on Jul 9, 2007

"The sense of community here is just fantastic," Kevin Skelly, the new superintendent of Palo Alto schools, said as he leaned back in a chair in his 25 Churchill Ave. office. He is heavily engaged in taking the measure of Palo Alto, and is enthusiastic about what he sees.

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Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2007 at 4:56 pm

Wishing you all the best in your new job, Mr. Skelly. Looking forward to seeing you around and about, also your wife and family.

Good Luck.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 9, 2007 at 8:22 pm

He seems reasonably savvy. He's been efficient about getting the principals hired and it sounds like he's made some good picks.

Good luck, Skelly

Posted by natasha, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 10, 2007 at 7:31 am

Is *he* the one who picked those three new principals? I think he did a *great* job. Also, I was wondering why Mary Frances was up there at the last Board Meeting -- I thought he would be up there instead, and was sorry he wasn't. Oh, well. But I want him to know that this town is placing a lot of hope and confidence in him to turn around the downward trend in our schools. Welcome, to him and his family. There's a lot ot love about Palo Alto.

Posted by yes..., a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 10, 2007 at 4:12 pm

Yes, I believe *he* was the individual that met with each candidate prior to their appointment for the latest round of administrators... all six (?) of them.

Posted by natasha, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 10, 2007 at 7:04 pm

hey there Yes -- are you the individual currently posting as Rod on another thread? Your tone sounds familiar.

Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2007 at 2:10 pm

I hope Mr. Skelly is considering strategic planning process as one of his top priorities. There is alot of discussion on healing, and the first step is to reground the community in fair play, rules of the game, a sound strategic decision making process.

I would recommend to him he takes a look at the professional and comprehensive Bregman Survey of March 2006 as a snapshot of the voice of the community one year ago. This type of quality survey (updated) should be input to the strategic plan. I wonder if the staff showed him that?

Its time to rally the community around the goals and priorities of the district. A good strategic planning process can go a long way to building support and buy-in for the tough decisions to come.

Even though he doesn't vote on the board, he needs to realize that he has huge influence in the decisions of the board. So I hope he starts demanding a better quality of output from the staff to the board. For example, what will he put together into in terms of accountability for MI? Its up to him, not the board, to decide how MI results will be measured and reported. He's the implementer. I hope he pays attention to ensuring the (new and improved?) processes of the district support quality of data and transparency.

Posted by yes..., a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 11, 2007 at 5:04 pm

Hi Natasha,

No, I am not "ROD" on another thread. I do post under "Former PAUSD Teacher" occasionally. I don't want my name known for obvious reasons.

Posted by yes..., a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 11, 2007 at 5:11 pm

Hi again Natasha,

I just actually read your conversation with "Rod" from that thread. That is definitely NOT me. I take bullying quite seriously, and I feel it has absolutely no place at the school site. On that, I agree with you.

On my 1st post above, I was not 100% positive. You might be reading into my uncertainty regarding whether or not the new Supt met with each administrator. I know most of the new administators pretty well and hold the ones I know in high regard.

I do want to say that I don't see a "downward turn" in PAUSD. There are always places to improve upon, but it's a great district with great teachers, great classified staff, great administrators, and most importantly great kids.

Sorry if my tone was taken to be something else.

Posted by natasha, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 11, 2007 at 6:56 pm

Hello, yes. By "downward turn" was referring to morale issues throughout the ranks. A strong leader with a strong vision might be able to reverse it.

I read your posts and appreciate your comments very much. Cheers.

Posted by Jon, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 14, 2007 at 10:22 pm

I hope Mr Skelly will bring about conciliation on many local hot button issues, especially MI. His work must be supported by students, staff, parents, and most importantly, the community.

It is necessary our community has expectations for Mr Skelly, but should the cynical and antipathy filled attitudes of community members continue and prevail, we will make his and the school board's job harder. All of us will disagree, but what is important is that in the end, we make compromises.

As I was taught in AP US history, this country was founded on compromises, and yes inevitably the difference of opinion led to partisanship, but on such a local and intimate level, our community cannot afford to remain bitter and divided on issues, and we must all come to terms with decisions that are made by those we elect.

In the slightly altered words of a famous president: "My fellow community members, ask not what your school superintendent can do for you; ask what you can do for your school superintendent."

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 15, 2007 at 12:10 am


Yep, there were lots of compromises--including the one over slavery that almost destroyed the country 87 years later. Some compromises are disastrous.