Sandra Pearson appointed Jordan principal

Interim role effective in January, district to look for long-term replacement in spring

Former Palo Alto High School Principal Sandra Pearson has been appointed interim principal of Jordan Middle School, the school district announced today.

Current Principal Suzanne Barbarasch announced her resignation in October and Pearson will begin Jan. 7, according to a district press release.

Pearson will serve until June and the district will interview candidates for a long-term role in the spring, Superintendent Kevin Skelly said.

The district will seek staff and parent input in hiring a replacement, he said.

Experienced and well-known by Jordan's staff and in the community, Pearson will guide the school without trouble through the changeover, Assistant Superintendent Scott Bowers said.

"We see this as providing a really smooth transition," he said.

School functions are planned well in advance so the principal change will not shake things up, Jordan's Assistant Principal Christina Regalia agreed.

"Things aren't going to change. It doesn't matter who it is. Schools prepare a year in advance," she said.

Pearson has had many roles in the district, most recently coming out of retirement to re-assume her previous post as Paly's principal from 2002-04.

Her goals were reducing college-related student stress and bringing newer teachers together with more experienced staff, she said in a 2003 interview with the Palo Alto Weekly.

Pearson earlier taught drama at JLS Middle School -- then called Wilbur Junior High -- before acting as Paly assistant and then head principal.

She also worked as assistant to the superintendent, retired and came out of retirement to steer Paly once more.

This fall she has worked as a moderator for the district High School Task Force, a group tasked with envisioning the schools' future in time of growing enrollment.

"I think the community is going to be very happy" with Pearson as principal, Skelly said.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2007 at 1:34 pm

I think Sandra Pearson did a good job while she was interim principal at Paly and I suspect she can do one here at Jordan. I think that coming in half way through the school year is a hurdle and since she has done it before, her experience there will help this time.

As for what happens next, I hope that this is interim. I have no reason not to think of it as a bad thing if it becomes permanent, but at this stage looking at it as just interim seems to be the wise thing to do.

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Posted by RWE
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 4, 2007 at 3:07 pm

Excellent choice!

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Posted by Relieved
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 4, 2007 at 3:30 pm

What an idea!! Put a good, solid person in based on her experience and then do a thorough search for a permanent position.

What a difference a year makes.

Like this comment
Posted by k
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 4, 2007 at 7:00 pm

Thanks, Ms. Pearson. Wish we had you at Paly at this time.
a Paly parent

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Posted by cheering section
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Dec 4, 2007 at 10:10 pm

well done! Sandra is an outstanding instictive leader - hope she is strong enough for the challenges at Jordan.

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