The Palo Alto Unified School District has hired Los Gatos High School principal Markus Autrey to serve as the new associate superintendent, Superintendent Max McGee confirmed Monday.
Autrey is replacing Charles Young, who resigned from his post as associate superintendent at the end of this school year to serve as superintendent in the Benicia Unified School District.
Autrey, who began his career as a teacher in Pennsylvania, first joined the Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District in 2005 as an assistant principal at Saratoga High School. He became principal at Los Gatos in 2009.
Autrey received a master's degree in educational leadership from St. Louis University and his educational credentials from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, according to an online biography. He previously taught and served in administrative positions at the secondary level in both Allentown and St. Louis, he said.
The Los Gatos-Saratoga district consists of two high schools, Los Gatos and Saratoga High, and several alternative programs. Enrollment at Los Gatos is approximately 1,875 students and Saratoga, 1,400, according to the schools' websites.
Autrey said during his time at Los Gatos High, the school made significant strides regarding mental health and student stress, including bringing more therapeutic services and shifting to a block schedule. He was also involved in bringing New Tech Network, a national school-within-a-school model focused on project-based learning, to the high school.
He described himself as a community advocate committed to developing partnerships both within the district and in the community.
McGee said Autrey is bringing key secondary-level experience to Palo Alto, something Young and the district office in general was missing. Autrey signed his contract on Monday after extensive interviews with McGee, teachers and administrative leadership.
"I was really impressed with what he had done, his presence, his articulation, his honesty, the fact that he had an extraordinary work ethic and (is) really bright but also very humble and had a fire in the belly to really make a difference to students and teachers in the community and had done so at Los Gatos," McGee said.
Young's resignation presented the superintendent an opportunity to rethink the position, which McGee described in May as almost a "catch-all job" with responsibilities that ranged from evaluating all site principals to processing Uniform Complaint Procedures and serving as the district's compliance coordinator for federal gender equity law Title IX.
The new associate superintendent, who serves as the "second in command" to the superintendent, is charged at the high level with "supervis(ing) staff in developing, improving, and supervising the curricula, professional development and instructional programs" and working with McGee and district leadership to implement the school board's adopted strategic plan, according to an online job posting for the position.
Autrey will also serve as the district's "key spokesperson for assigned areas of responsibility," providing public representation on various committees, before special interest groups, citizen groups and other public meetings, according to the posting.
He will also have to stay up to date on local, state and federal laws and other requirements for district compliance; manage the collection, analysis and reporting of student achievement data; oversee school accreditation processes; design the evaluation of intervention programs for historically underrepresented students and others not meeting performance standards; and develop and evaluate professional development for district administrators and leadership retreats.
The posting lists the position's annual salary at $188,142 to $208,092.