Jordan principal to move to district-wide post

Magdalena Fittora named principal of Barron Park as Jordan searches for new leader

Jordan Middle School Principal Michael Milliken has been named director of secondary education for the Palo Alto school district, replacing Debbra Lindo, who will leave in June to head a school district in the East Bay.

Math resource teacher Magdalena Fittoria will become principal of Barron Park Elementary School, replacing the retiring Cathy Howard. Fittoria served as acting principal at Barron Park last year, while Howard was on medical leave for several months.

Both announcements were made Thursday by Palo Alto School Superintendent Kevin Skelly.

"I am pleased to recommend Dr. Milliken and Ms. Fittoria to the (school) board," Skelly said.

"Dr. Milliken's background as a middle school leader and his research work on high schools will make our District Office team stronger.

"Ms. Fittoria has been an outstanding teacher leader and I am confident that she will continue her success in this new position."

Milliken, who holds a bachelor's degree in political science as well as a PhD in educational administration from Stanford University, came to Palo Alto in 2008 as principal of Jordan.

He began his public-education career in 1996 as an elementary teacher in San Diego, later moving to Maryland where he taught elementary school as well as middle school math. In 2005 he became principal of an elementary school in Newark.

Fittoria, who earned a bachelor's and master's degree from Stanford as well as an additional master's from Santa Clara University, joined the district in 1996 as a teacher in the Spanish Immersion Program, then at Fairmeadow School.

Except for her time as acting principal at Barron Park in 2010, she has been the district's elementary math resource teacher since 2007.

Chris Kenrick

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Like this comment
Posted by Dissapointed Parent
a resident of Barron Park
on May 2, 2011 at 4:55 am

Not Magdalena. We were all hoping for someone new. This lady will follow Cathy Howard's Steps and there would be not improvement. How sad that the district does not ask parents for opinions.
By the way does anyone know what happened at Scondido, the principal was suddenly moved to Fair Meadow and was not allowed to finis the school year. At this point Escondido has no principal. This is strange, usually the district announces the changes during the school year, but they happen after the school year ends, unless there is serious problems with the administration.

Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 2, 2011 at 9:48 am

The person who advocated for Everyday Math? What a huge, huge disappointment! I had faith that PAUSD would find someone to improve the school. Nothing will change now and Barron Park will continue with the lowest morale and API scores.

Principal Milliken was a fantastic principal. Hopefully, he will implement improvements in PAUSD and serve us as well as he served us at Jordan.

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Posted by parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 2, 2011 at 11:13 am

This shows that the Churchill administration does not care about or know our neighborhood or the resident kids. With this decision Barron Park remains a school where failed experiments are repeated over and over again in the name of political correctness. It is frustrating for those of us whose kids fell through the cracks there as well as for the BP staff. BP Parents, get those checkbooks out to compensate for whole language and EDM.

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Posted by parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 2, 2011 at 11:30 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by Ken Dauber
a resident of Barron Park School
on May 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm

I've been happy with Cathy Howard's leadership and with Magdalena Fittoria when she served as acting principal at Barron Park. But if I weren't and I felt moved to comment, I wouldn't do it with anonymous attacks. If you disagree with the district's decision, you shouldn't be ashamed to attach your name to that fact -- I haven't been. If you don't want to be associated with how you're stating your opinion, I can well understand that but I suggest modifying your words rather than hiding behind anonymity.

Like this comment
Posted by A hopeful community member
a resident of Barron Park School
on May 2, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Magdalena (and her leadership) is nothing like principal Cathy. I find it sad that parents that know nothing about what they are talking about feel the need to make such ignorant comments with no background or support. I am looking forward to see the positive improvements that I know will occur at the Barron Park site and it is dissapointing that the members of such a progressive city are so close-minded and ignorant. I saw amazing growth in students and staff when Magdalena was acting principal and I find it hard to believe that others did not. I cannot wait for the new leadership and the high achievement that principal Magdalena will push for. She has the highest expectations for every student and is a strong supporter of growth-mindsets.

I hope that others may give her a chance before we continue with the annonymous attacks.

Like this comment
Posted by Just the facts
a resident of University South
on May 2, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Regarding the comment about the move of the Escondido principal to Fairmeadow:
Fact: That move will take place for the coming school year, not during this school year.
Opinion: The comment was yet another example of people without correct information who then either make a negative assumption or an innuendo.

Like this comment
Posted by Jordan mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 2, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Shoot!! Mr Milliken was a great principal - couldn't we have some consistency for a while!!

Like this comment
Posted by Barron Park Mom
a resident of Barron Park
on May 2, 2011 at 10:23 pm

We are very excited and hopeful to have Magdalena as our new principal. I had a great experience working with her during the 6 months she was here at Barron Park.

It is unfair for people to criticize someone that hasn't had a chance to prove herself.
For those blaming EDM on her, don't. EDM was a decision made by the district and she was only there to support it.

Disappointed parent: The district asked for our opinion and we said we wanted a warm,
principal who will put the kids first. I think Magdalena will be a great addition to our school.

Like this comment
Posted by curious
a resident of Barron Park
on May 3, 2011 at 8:37 am

Did BP go through the standard process of having a principal selection committee?

Like this comment
Posted by Barron Park Mom
a resident of Barron Park
on May 3, 2011 at 10:42 am

Barron Park went through the standard process that every school in Palo Alto follows.

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Posted by Jordan Parent 2
a resident of Meadow Park
on May 3, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Three years is a long time for a principal to be at a school these days, especially in a high-pressured place like Palo Alto. Thanks Mr. M for your dedication and service! Good luck in the District Office!

Like this comment
Posted by Jordan parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 3, 2011 at 10:08 pm

I'm disappointed that Principal Milliken is leaving Jordan. I respect him for his effort to stop bullying and I appreciate the respectful way he has treated us and other parents. I hope that our next principal will be all those things as well. I wish he would stay longer!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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