JLS administrator named principal at Duveneck

Chris Grierson taught six years at Walter Hays before moving to administration

A new principal will greet students at Duveneck Elementary School in August: Chris Grierson, formerly assistant principal at JLS Middle School.

Grierson, who taught six years at Walter Hays Elementary School before moving to Jordan Middle School and later JLS, was named to the post Wednesday (July 13).

He replaces John Lents, who resigned unexpectedly June 20 because of a job opportunity for his spouse in St. Louis.

Grierson joined the school district in 2002 as a teacher at Walter Hays. He taught sixth grade at Jordan for a year before moving to JLS, where he has been assistant principal for several years. He also has worked as a summer school principal.

He holds a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in education from the University of California at Santa Barbara, as well as a master's in public administration from Notre Dame de Namur University.

"Mr. Grierson's extensive knowledge of elementary curriculum and his work with middle schools make him an ideal candidate for this position," Superintendent Kevin Skelly said.

Chris Kenrick

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by Tony Putulin
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Congratulations, Chris, for a well deserved promotion! Definitely a loss for JLS but a gain for Duveneck. Good luck!

Like this comment
Posted by Penny
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 14, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Congratulations, Chris. And thank you for your good work at JLS.

Like this comment
Posted by Skeptical
a resident of Duveneck School
on Jul 14, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Why would Skelly think Grierson is an "ideal candidate" when he has worked with older children and middle schools? Grierson doesn't have experience with children younger than grade 4, according to the information above. Let's hope he understands the younger ages too.

I hope this isn't another one of Skelly's "stay three years as principal and then I'll promote you to the district office" deals as he promised Kathleen Meagher and Michael Milliken. If that's so, Skelly really doesn't care about the children of our schools and is selfishly finding people for himself than for what's best for the schools. Let's see what happens after three years of Grierson's service to Duveneck. . .

Like this comment
Posted by Skeptical
a resident of Duveneck School
on Jul 14, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Photo of Grierson: Web Link

Very young. Hope he understands children.

Like this comment
Posted by Susan
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 14, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Chris was my daughter's 3rd grade teacher at Walter Hays. He not only knows and appreciates kids of all ages, but he's able to communicate with them in a refreshingly genuine way. He's just great and the school district is so fortunate to have him.

Like this comment
Posted by HSS
a resident of Duveneck School
on Jul 14, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Just looking at the article Mr. Grierson has moved around a lot which feels as if he's positioning himself for movement into a district position. Sounds as if Duveneck has become the stepping stone for Churchill appointments. Very sad day for the kids.

Like this comment
Posted by Natasha Moiseyev
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 14, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Congratulations to Chris Grierson. Addison is lucky to have him. He is a great, involved and engaged administrator and really has the kids' best interests at heart. Skeptical, give him a chance. He's one of the good guys.

Like this comment
Posted by Joanne Saxton
a resident of University South
on Jul 14, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Congratulations, Chris! I am excited for you and happy for the Duveneck School Community. It was my pleasure to be your aide for 4 years at Walter Hays both in 2nd and 3rd grades. You are an inspirational teacher and your ability to earn the respect of children, parents and staff is clearly an extension of the thoughtful person that you are on a daily basis. I especially appreciated your insistence on civility both in and out of the classroom.

Good luck to you!

Like this comment
Posted by jaded
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jul 14, 2011 at 11:14 pm

I do not know this man, but I can say that this district no longer values experience or expertise. Alas.

Like this comment
Posted by skeptical2
a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2011 at 6:16 am

It is concerning because he has no experience outside the district and if he is moving up then what this district needs are people that have vast amounts of experience inside and outside our district as well. Also, Duveneck is a challenging school to be a principal and needs someone that will build community and be strong when the going gets tough. That requires some kind of experience and integrity. John Lents had both and we needed to continue that kind of leadership. It is concerning and a foreshadowing to where this district seems to be headed.

Like this comment
Posted by Jackie
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 15, 2011 at 9:47 am

Congratulations Chris! You are the right person for the job! Duveneck is lucky to have you. Whether you stay or go is not really the point. What is more important is that you bring a wide range of educational expertise to your new leadership roll and can offer the community a smart, capable, leader. Elementary teacher, Middle School teacher, Summer School principal, JLS Vice Principal, I think you have got it covered. This hiring decision makes sense to me. At times I find it most difficult to figure out why Mr. Skelly assigns people to positions that they are seemingly unqualified to handle and are not sufficiently prepared for. As mentioned above it would seem ulterior motives are at work in some of his most recent placements.
Your placement as principal is a fine decision. Congratulations!

Like this comment
Posted by bad choice
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 15, 2011 at 5:01 pm

There's no way anyone can convince me that a high paying elementary principal job in PAUSD didn't have LOTS of outside applicants with decades of experience and service. Taking someone with less than a handful of years of experience in an administrative role is careless and reeks of something peculiar.

Like this comment
Posted by YNWA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Unlike "jaded," I do know him and have seen him at work at both Walter Hays and JLS - this is an excellent appointment for the students, parents and staff of Duveneck.

Mr. Grierson is an excellent educator, knows curriculum, "gets" kids, deals with parents with fairness and respect and has a very calm demeanor. I have seen him work effectively with high-achieving students, students with disabilities and all in-between - maintaining high expectations for all types of learners in his classroom while providing the necessary supports to help them get there. Good, solid hire by Skelly.

Like this comment
Posted by buddy
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 15, 2011 at 6:33 pm

saddly ks only listen to his buddy

Like this comment
Posted by Linda
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 15, 2011 at 6:46 pm

My daughter was fortunate to have Mr Grierson for 2nd grade and I can honestly say he was one of the best elementary school teachers my three kids ever had (and that includes their teachers in New York schools). PAUSD and Duveneck are fortunate to have him.

Like this comment
Posted by buddy
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 15, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Who is his buddy

Like this comment
Posted by Kendall
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2011 at 8:44 am

How were the other new PAUSD principals hired? As insinuated by "bad choice" there HAS to be outside overly qualified candidates. Why does Skelly appoint PAUSD people with limited to NO experience to such crucial positions? Apparently the new principal at Escondido does not speak Spanish. How do the Spanish Immersion Parents feel about this? What about Special Education experience and or classroom experience? Look around, Duveneck, you got lucky!!

Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Escondido School
on Jul 16, 2011 at 9:08 am

Gary Prehn didn't speak Spanish either. Whenever he spoke Spanish at assembly he was reading something a teacher had written. Why go outside the district when you have the best candidate inside? Plus, Mr. Grierson already knows the types of parents he will be dealing with which an outsider might be blindsided by given the negative, unsupported by facts, comments here.

Like this comment
Posted by Me Too
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm

A couple of considerations about hiring that I haven't seen above:

- hiring from within is highly motivating for existing teachers and staff, as an expression of confidence and career path opportunity -- so a bias to hiring from within makes sense

- experienced outsiders with strong views may clash with a strong teacher/community culture, especially at schools that are performing well

- visibility on outside candidates is usually limited (their references all say nice things) with that on inside candidates is usually high (first hand experience or known references) - so lower risk to hire from inside

I don't know anything about this candidate or much about the school, so am in no position to judge. But I can see the logic to giving opportunities to talented junior staff members to advance. Phil Wintson (age 35 I think) started out teaching elementary special ed in Milpitas for 6 years; by most accounts he is doing well now as principal at Paly.

Like this comment
Posted by Go JLS!
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jul 16, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Very happy for JLS and Mr. Chris Grierson. Now Gunn?

Like this comment
Posted by Marcy
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 18, 2011 at 11:23 am

Mr. Grierson was my daughter's 4th grade teacher at Walter Hays when he was fresh out of UC Santa Barbara, and he was one of the best teachers my three kids ever had. I think Duveneck lucked out.

Like this comment
Posted by Skeptical
a resident of Duveneck School
on Jul 18, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Great to hear all these wonderful comments about Grierson. A parent/friend of mine at JLS said he is fantastic and she is quite critical.

I agree that outside applicants may not be familiar with Palo Alto parents or children.

Who will take Grierson's spot? Keith Rocha from Jordan? He is working his way through administration, having been Summer School principal already. He is a great teacher.

Winston is loved by Paly. He really cares and has improved things since he took the throne.

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

All your news. All in one place. Every day.

After experiencing harassment, owner of Zareen's restaurants speaks out about Islamophobia, racism
By Elena Kadvany | 28 comments | 6,987 views

Don't Miss Your Exit (and other lessons from an EV drive)
By Sherry Listgarten | 13 comments | 2,352 views

Goodbye Food Waste!
By Laura Stec | 7 comments | 2,259 views

Premarital and Couples: Tips for Hearing (Listening) and Being Known
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 768 views

Is racism also a local problem?
By Diana Diamond | 17 comments | 461 views


Register today!

‚ÄčOn Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More