News

Duveneck principal resigns unexpectedly

Search is on for new principal as John Lents follows spouse to St. Louis

Duveneck School is searching for a new principal following Monday's unexpected resignation of John Lents, effective June 30.

Lents, longtime principal at Addison School who moved to Duveneck last fall, is relocating to St. Louis for family reasons.

A search for Lents's replacement will begin immediately, school officials said.

In a message to Duveneck families, Lents said, "Without question, I fully intended to make Duveneck my professional home. However, even the best-laid plans must be rewritten at times."

Lents explained that his husband had received an unexpected job offer with a major hospital in St. Louis.

"The dilemmas created by this opportunity have been significant as we've explored their impact upon our personal and professional lives," he said.

Palo Alto School Superintendent Kevin Skelly said, "While we are sad that this talented principal is leaving, we will work hard to find a replacement worthy of this great school in a timely manner."

Lents began his education career 34 years ago at the American School of Kuwait.

Before coming to Palo Alto 11 years ago, he worked at the American School of Budapest and in schools in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas.

After years at Addison, he moved to Duveneck a year ago to replace Kathleen Meagher after she was named the district-wide director of elementary education.

At the time, Skelly said Lents had "expressed a desire for the rejuvenation and energy that comes with leading in a new environment."

Lents's replacement will be the Duveneck community's fourth principal since 2006.

In the message to families, Lents expressed "deep appreciation for your understanding and for the opportunity to work with you, but also with deep regret that I won't be here to see this community continue to grow and flourish."

Chris Kenrick

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Duveneck Mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 21, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Well this is a disappointment. Why is it so hard to keep a principal at Duveneck?


Like this comment
Posted by No Way
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 21, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Take ours... please.


Like this comment
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 21, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Let's hit up Mark Zuckerberg early for his future kids' PiE contribution; if he gave in proportion to what others gave (as a % of net worth), PAUSD could buy 3-4 homes in PA and reserve them for resident principals, like Stanford does.


Like this comment
Posted by Concernforthekids
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2011 at 10:20 am

Time to review Principal contracts? It wouldn't seem unreasonable to demand at least 2 years from them, possibly 4. It must be so disruptive to the whole Duveneck community. I hope they get someone in there who really strives to stay! The kids deserve that.


Like this comment
Posted by PAUSD Mom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2011 at 10:44 am

Hello, "I am the center of the universe" Duveneck parents,

He is leaving because his spouse has taken a job elsewhere. How could the district plan for that? John Lents has served the district at Addison and Duveneck for many years.

Grow up! Personnel changes happen. That's life.


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2011 at 10:51 am

" Lents explained that his husband had received an unexpected job offer with a major hospital in St. Louis."

School principals should be required to give 6 months to a years notice before quitting

---or pay very significant financial and professional consequences.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Duveneck School
on Jun 22, 2011 at 10:55 am

Re the first poster's question: we had Ruth for 7 years.

Then they hired a disaster of a principal who presented well on paper but was incompetent and created a "no touching" rule in attempt to combat bullying, which made headlines. This person was not suited to be an elementary school principal and left after one year to a middle school in Menlo Park.

Next, we had Kathleen Meagher, who was fantastic but knew Skelly so was only at Duveneck for the 3-year minimum necessary for promotion. She moved to the district office to head the curriculum and professional development for the elementaries.

This year, we had Lents from Addison. Maybe coincidental, but our secretary of 30 years retired at the end of the year. Lents seemed great, albiet uptight.

At this point, it seems that Skelly will have full power to decide who heads Duveneck in the fall, which is perhaps planned so there would be no parent involvement. Lents likely knew he was leaving before the end of the school year, per his June 20 letter (10 days after the last day of school), "... I'm announcing my decision to leave ... in order to join Lawrence in St. Louis next month." Let's hope for the best.


Like this comment
Posted by PA dad
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2011 at 10:56 am

Changes happen and they are disruptive, and our personal involvement is fleeting. One of my children had five principals during his time at Ohlone. It was hard on all of us and the school's performance sagged. By the time there was stability, my child had moved on. But I don't have a solution or quick fix.


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2011 at 11:03 am



"Only if you're in Calais".

Auguste Rodin will be rolling in his grave.


Like this comment
Posted by former Addison parent
a resident of University South
on Jun 22, 2011 at 11:20 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2011 at 11:20 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 22, 2011 at 11:23 am

I can’t believe you are complaining about how many days of notice he gave. Sure it is nice to give 3 – 6 months notice versus only 1 or 2 months notice. I do not believe the Principal or the teacher work in the summer. He might have offered to suggest a good replacement or even offered to stay until they could find someone etc. The article is only saying that he is leaving at the end of June.

I have seen people who are very committed to their work or school and their place of employment says oh we have to downsize and we do not need you anymore. The school system and companies if they are run properly they are not dependent on one person only.


Like this comment
Posted by Carol
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 22, 2011 at 11:25 am

While I do not know John Lents well, I am glad we had him for the time we did at Duveneck. I understand his reasons for leaving and appreciate the letter he sent out to the community explaining his decision. He has been there for the children in the PAUSD for many years prior to Duveneck. I see nothing career ending about this. I am sad to see him go so soon and wish I had more time to get to know him, but we cannot be so selfish as to say he should pay consequences for following his spouse to a better position.

Mr. Lents, if you are reading this, good luck in your move. My children really enjoyed you and your hats this past school year. I wish you and your husband well in your new adventure.


Like this comment
Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 22, 2011 at 11:49 am

Sharon,

"School principals should be required to give 6 months to a years notice before quitting
---or pay very significant financial and professional consequences."

What does it say in his contract? Does it have a clause that says how much notice he must give?

"This is very unprofessional conduct by John Lents"
Unprofessional in what way? He is moving to be with his husband. Unless he is in breach of contract he has done nothing wrong.

"--It is basically a career ending act."
Really?/ Where do you get that from. Bet you he will have a nice job in the St. Louis area

"There must be something more to this story."
You do not believe his claim that his husband got a job in St Louis and he moving to be near him? Then, provide the evidence.


Like this comment
Posted by Noel
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 22, 2011 at 11:52 am

This is a loss for Duveneck and for PAUSD. I knew John well at Addison where two of our boys attended. He created a wonderful sense of community there. He knew every student's name and the names of every parent who was in any way involved with the school.


Like this comment
Posted by good luck!
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 22, 2011 at 11:57 am

John has "worked his notice" by staying on until the end of the school year. If you knew where he lived, you probably saw that he sold his house a couple of months ago.
The district would have known about this for some time and will have had several months to find a replacement before the new year starts.


Like this comment
Posted by confused
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2011 at 2:09 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 22, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Maybe we should be hiring people who have deeper roots in this community and are more likely to stay.


Like this comment
Posted by Barron Park
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 22, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Sounds like the move makes sense, the timing is reasonable, and he will be missed. The aspirations of some for a nefarious understory are perhaps predictable, but nonetheless odd.

And for those of you who want to see financial consequences for limited notice period from Principals, this is easily enough done with a contracted retention bonus contingent on such notice period. I am sure that such a proposal to the BoE would be welcomed.

Of course, then there will be complaints about the excessive rewards on exit given to those who are not as well liked, but gave adequate notice.



Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 22, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Mr. Lents raised his kids here and lived here as an elementary principal for 12 years or so - not sure how much more connected to the community you can get. He will be missed, I thank him for his years of service and wish him the best of luck.


Like this comment
Posted by Susan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 22, 2011 at 6:46 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Another mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 22, 2011 at 7:13 pm

There is nothing constant but change itself. Best wishes to Mr. Lent and his family. You have served our community well and were a pleasure to know.
Why is it that Palo Altans think that they own the school employees? Would anyone in business tolerate a contract that required a 6 month notice or pay consequences? It is a job, folks, and there are other good places to live and experience besides Palo Alto.
When you are fortunate to have dedicated, effective and agreeable people like Mr. Lent spend as many years as he has in the school district, you should say "thank you and godspeed!"


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2011 at 7:52 pm

The CEOs of most firms have contracts that require very long term notice before they quit--otherwise they face huge financial consequences and it will be an end of career move.

10 days notice is unheard of.

Of course the BoD can fire a CEO and let them resign--to save face-then they say " I am leaving to spend more time with my family"

If you join the US Military--then you sure cannot leave with 10 days notice--the consequences will be very severe in deed.

We sense there is something else in this extraordinary story of a school principal quitting with 10 days notice.

We do not recall it ever happening before in PAUSD

What is the story?


Like this comment
Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 22, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Sharon--

"The CEOs of most firms have contracts that require very long term notice before they quit--otherwise they face huge financial consequences and it will be an end of career move."
mr lent is not a CEO. What does his contract say about giving advance notice before resigning? I think that you are just trying to stir things up.
Your comments regarding CEOs is not relevant in this case

"10 days notice is unheard of."
But you previously stated that a burger flipper gives 10 days notice--so it is not unheard of.

"Of course the BoD can fire a CEO and let them resign--to save face-then they say " I am leaving to spend more time with my family""
Irrelevant comparison--Mr Lent is not a CEO, there is no BoD

"If you join the US Military--then you sure cannot leave with 10 days notice--the consequences will be very severe in deed."
What does this comment have to do with Mr Lebt. He is not in the military!!!!!!

"We sense there is something else in this extraordinary story of a school principal quitting with 10 days notice."
Who is we? What is extraordinary about a person leaving a job in order to follow his spouse who got a new job?

"We do not recall it ever happening before in PAUSD"
Who is we? there is a first time for everything.

"What is the story?"
The story was pretty clear in the article. If you have evidence that the story is false, then please let us know. Otherwise this looks like another case of Sharon trying to stir up trouble.


Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 22, 2011 at 8:59 pm

What's traumatic about leaving at the end of a school year?

Damn, I had no idea Palo Alto parents were such wimps. Actually, I don't think they are.




Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Duveneck School
on Jun 22, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Some of these comments are ridiculous. But I do miss the hilarious deleted comments about burger flippers quitting their jobs.

I do not think this is traumatic for parents and children. The irritating part is that Lents sold his house months ago yet announced his departure 10 days after the last day of school.

Duveneck parents are involved parents and we have been happy there. They are not, as one poster described, "pushy, aggressive". Sure, there may be some bad apples, but I have been room parent three times and have found parents to be cooperative. We have no problems finding volunteers for our classrooms. Parents stand around and talk with each other before school and after school.

The one principal who stayed for one year may have been ousted by the parents but it was due to severe incompetence. He would forget about meetings, wear sweatsuits to school, was generally unprofessional and unpolitically correct.

Kathleen Meagher cried during her last speech to Duveneck students and parents due to her enjoyment of her time at the school.

My only complaint about Duveneck is the terrible custodian, who is rude and incompetent. One time, inside a classroom, without saying anything, he pushed me out of the way to reach the outlet. I am not sure what his job description is, but the lunch tables, desks, and sinks are filthy.


Like this comment
Posted by moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2011 at 9:39 pm

John and Lawrence,

I wish you happiness and success in St. Louis!


Like this comment
Posted by Duvparent
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 22, 2011 at 9:52 pm

I told my 3rd grader who had a great time with Mr. Lents this past year about his leaving for St. Louis because of his spouse's job. Apart from his initial surprise ("really?!?") he got it, and returned to the book he was reading after maybe 1 minute of discussion. So much for trauma. I"m sorry to see him go, but we will all be fine.


Like this comment
Posted by anaffair
a resident of Southgate
on Jun 22, 2011 at 9:57 pm

I agree with above,there is no such thing like we must have him to work for us forever,we can have others who are very much qualified for this position,actually, a whole lot of them locally.


Like this comment
Posted by some guy
a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Hey, I didn't even get a "[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]" for my comment. It's completely gone... That's just unfair.


Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Duveneck School
on Jun 22, 2011 at 10:26 pm

@some guy: Posts are deleted often without the notation. They don't want people realizing the quantity of postings which are removed.


Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 23, 2011 at 10:01 am

Turnover of principals seems high in PAUSD. It is disruptive.


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2011 at 6:30 pm


we would consider the principal of a school to have the responsibility to give 1 years notice --unless they were fired--in which case 2 weeks 14 days will apply.

Still 10 days notice is very odd

what is the real story ?


Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Duveneck School
on Jun 23, 2011 at 7:50 pm

@Sharon: You are trying to make something out of nothing. Lents sold his house months ago. Skelly probably knew months ago. The notice to parents was sent recently. Who says a principal needs to give a one year notice? That's completely absurd. Both the Jordan principal and Kathleen Meagher did not give a one-year notice. Besides, a notice a year in advance is more disruptive to the morale of the school.


Like this comment
Posted by Svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 23, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Sharon give it a rest. If you have evidence that their is more to the story, the let us seeit. Otherwise you are just repeating the same tired claim over and over again. BTW, your comments about 1 year notice are ridiculous.


Like this comment
Posted by notice
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2011 at 8:11 pm

I agree£¬he needs to give 4 year advanced notice¡£


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2011 at 12:41 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 24, 2011 at 3:38 am

Sharon you are so right. I have it on the QT that Mr. Lents is really an alien invader from another planet and the Mother Ship has recalled him as he was unable to implement the plans for the conquest of Earth by the deadline.

Seriously, I have met John and known people who have worked with him. Nothing but praise and respect. It's a tough job and he did a great job at 2 schools. We should be lucky to find replacements of his caliber.

All the best to you John!


Like this comment
Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 24, 2011 at 6:20 am

Really, Sharon. Is Mr Lent your latest target?
You claim that that the story is strange and that there is more to it--why do you not provide us with some evidence for your claims instead of trying to smear the reputation of another victim of Sharonitis.
It is very clear why Mr Lent is leaving and there is no "mystery" to it. SOunds like you are bored, Sharon.


Like this comment
Posted by Robin
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2011 at 11:06 am

I have had the pleasure of knowing John since he moved to Palo Alto 12 years ago, and enjoyed having both of his sons in my class at Jordan. Although his departure is a huge loss for the PAUSD community on many levels, people need to do what's best for their families. I wish John & Lawrence nothing but great happiness &success in St. Louis.


Like this comment
Posted by Lawrence
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 24, 2011 at 5:23 pm

John and I have been committed and giving members of Palo Alto and the communities in which he has served principal from the beginning. The needs of his students, faculty and community have been a priority in his/our lives. I am sorely disappointed at some of the remarks made of about my husband after 11 devoted years for PAUSD…and even more amazed that some comments required removal from the this site. John has done extraordinary work in relationship and community building and has always maintained the highest standards so that his students will be nurtured, learn and grow until their next jump into their education. There are several examples colleagues, community members and I can site...

Palo Alto has always impressed me on the importance of family. And families tend to have to make difficult decisions. Understanding, sacrifice and compromise are necessary in order for the love and bonds within the family remain intact and that love continues to flourish. We should all be so fortunate to have a spouse that is open, honest and giving…and make the difficult decision and sacrifices to move for his spouse…even when it’s such a hard decision to make. As John shared with his community, his intentions were to be at Duvenek indefinitely. He loved the faculty, the students and the challenges faced by any principal. I am truly grateful to have a husband who would leave a job and school that he loves and a school district that he has given his heart, soul and dedication for me to accept an incredible opportunity to work with oncology patients at one of the top 10 hospitals in the country.

And although I do not like to feed the monster... to those conspiracy theorists who do not need to know our personal matters… John and I decided to sell our house the beginning of May with full intent to move up the peninsula after his son graduated from Paly for a quieter and less expensive life. I was actively recruited for my new opportunity the first week in June…and was just offered the job last week. Personally, I was insulted that some would think that this was well planned out and that John would deceive his community. Change is difficult. But the resilience of children and communities endures.

And to those who have shared their love, support and well wishes here, through emails and in person…THANK YOU! The most difficult part of this decision is leaving all the great relationships and fond memories we have developed and experienced over the years. Although unexpected and moving at the speed of lightening, we are excited about this new chapter in our lives.

John’s husband, Lawrence


Like this comment
Posted by Cathy
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 24, 2011 at 5:37 pm

What a lovely note, though sad that it was needed.
Good luck John and Lawrence, we will miss you.


Like this comment
Posted by Svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 24, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Happy now, sharon? Lawrence had told the whole story. Nothing sinister about it. Too bad that because of comments like yours he had to write it. I hope in the future h you will think twice before you unleash your attacks on good people.


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2011 at 7:51 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by truth
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 24, 2011 at 8:25 pm

"Turnover of principals seems high in PAUSD. It is disruptive."

When there is a high turnover of principals in a district, look at the Superintendent. One of two things are at play: (1) The principals aren't qualified and the superintendent is cleaning house... or (2) the principals look at their superintendent, realize he/she has no clothes, and decide to resign and leave for a district where talent and student focus is appreciated.

More than HALF of PAUSD's administrators have left since 2005. I would challenge you to find a non-PI district where this has happened in the last 50 years. Perhaps it may be the district... perhaps it may be the community... Most likely, it's the PAUSD leadership. No other reason seems present.

Ironically, Lentz is neither. He is just moving. He is a great man with great success within PAUSD and will be missed.



Like this comment
Posted by LN
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2011 at 9:11 pm

I am stunned by the apparent need to know the "back story" and the righteousness of those critical of how John is departing from the school district. Lawrence has gone above and beyond what should be necessary to explain, and frankly I can't see how it is anyone else's business. John obviously worked within the parameters of his contract with regard to resigning, and he has dedicated himself to the well-being of students for many years. He has shared his sadness over leaving the Duveneck community, the school district, and Palo Alto. He owes us no more.

I think we, however, owe him our thanks and good wishes. So thank you, John, and Godspeed to you both!


Like this comment
Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 25, 2011 at 1:08 pm

svatoid is a registered user.

It is unfortunate that Weekly had to restrict postings on this thread to registered users because of the actions of one individual, who has a habit of casting aspersions and questioning the character involved in stories that she latches on to. Regular posters on this forum know that this individual is not a registered user, so we will no longer be hearing from her.

It would have been better for the editors to leave her posts intact, so that the reading public could see her nasty posts and judge her true character from them. That said, not having pollute this discussion any further is okay.


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

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