Gunn grad named new assistant superintendent

Virginia Davis to focus on principals as "front lines in education" in role vacated by Marilyn Cook

Virginia "Ginni" A. Davis, the associate superintendent of Davis Joint Unified School District and a graduate of Palo Alto schools, has been tapped as Palo Alto schools' next assistant superintendent for educational services.

Superintendent Kevin Skelly will recommend Davis' appointment to the Board of Education at its May 13 meeting, he announced Monday.

Davis will start July 1 if the board approves her appointment, replacing long-term district administrator Marilyn Cook, who is retiring.

Davis' primary role will be to focus on curriculum, supervising what is taught and how by working closely with principals of the district's 17 schools, Skelly said.

Supporting principals as "the front lines of education" is her top priority, Davis said.

She'll spend much time on school sites --including helping out with problems, she said.

"Sometimes if you get an email and you can tell there's something going on, you just pick up the phone and say, 'I'm on my way,'" she said.

As an associate superintendent in Davis, her curricular efforts include rewriting a master plan for the district's 25-year Spanish-immersion program and funding it with a federal grant, she said.

"Ginni has a dedication to quality curriculum and instruction and she's going to be a great fit," Skelly said.

He said Cook's departure "means that we are losing a great deal of expertise, so filling this position appropriately is extremely important."

Davis attended Barron Park Elementary School, Terman Middle School and Gunn High School, and her mother still lives Palo Alto. Davis received a bachelor's degree in history from University of California, Davis, and a master's degree in education from Stanford University.

She started as a social-studies teacher and became a department chair before moving into administration as a vice principal and principal in elementary and middle schools.

She has been associate superintendent with the Davis school district for the past three years, and earlier was assistant superintendent in the Dixon Unified School District.

She plans to move to Palo Alto but use weekends to commute to the city of Davis, where her husband, a local business-owner, will remain, she said. The couple has three grown children, including a son at UC-Davis, she said.

Davis will replace Marilyn Cook, who is retiring after 18 years with the district. Cook served as principal of Palo Alto High School from 1994 until 2000, when she was named assistant superintendent for human resources. Cook became associate superintendent in 2005 and helped create the district's upcoming Mandarin-immersion program. She also supervised a feasibility study about foreign languages in all elementary schools conducted last fall.

Davis' appointment as "assistant" rather than "associate" superintendent indicates she will earn less than an "associate" but perform the same duties, according to Kathleen Ruegsegger, a district administrative assistant.

Davis' contract, including salary and benefits, was not complete at press time, according to human-resources Assistant Superintendent Scott Bowers.


Like this comment
Posted by Midtown Guy
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 29, 2008 at 9:00 am

Curious-- is Davis her maiden name or marriage name? When did she
graduate from Gunn?

Like this comment
Posted by Paly reporter
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 30, 2008 at 1:19 pm

Check out this article from The Paly Voice about the recommendation at the following link:

Web Link

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