Los Gatos principal named Palo Alto's associate superintendent

Markus Autrey to serve as superintendent's 'second in command'

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.

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6 people like this
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 4, 2015 at 11:23 am

maybe he can straighten out the middle school recreation department. seems to be in shambles. We hope this is one of his first items on the agenda. we have had two daughters go through the after school programs and it is hit or miss as to their gratification in these programs. there seems to be no one in charge of taking care of concerns from either the participants or their parents.

15 people like this
Posted by Hahaha
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 4, 2015 at 11:46 am

Los Gatos is a far better district than Palo Alto. Hopefully, he will bring some good expertise with him from Los Gatos that can improve PAUSD.

14 people like this
Posted by Self-Absorbed Much?
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 4, 2015 at 12:25 pm

@concerned parent - yes, attending to the needs of parents of middle school after school rec program participants - that sounds like Job #1! What's Job #2?

5 people like this
Posted by Hopes
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 5, 2015 at 2:35 am

I hope this description is true. Seeing who is still left and promoted in the district, I'm not very impressed with McGee's honesty radar. (Word to the wise: you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas, as they say. Only in this case, the bite comes later and hurts a lot more.)

3 people like this
Posted by Huh?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 5, 2015 at 3:10 am

He's going to be "deputy" superintendent? We've always has "associate" superintendents. Why are they changing it? Maybe associate didn't sound important enough. Wonder if he will get a deputy's badge. Maybe McGee sees himself as the PAUSD sheriff? (Or maybe the Weekly made a mistake and he'll really be an associate superintendent?)

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 5, 2015 at 8:25 am

Another high paid administrator that I am paying for.

Do we need this administrator? How is it being funded? Where is the money coming from?

1 person likes this
Posted by Intrinsic Carrots are cheP
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 5, 2015 at 9:37 am

Yes, we need this one. It's questionable whether we need a lot of the rest of them, and why they make so much money. The reporting is deceptive, the salary is usually only for a 200ish work year. And yes, the Governor of California makes less either way.

1 person likes this
Posted by Terry Connelly
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 5, 2015 at 12:39 pm

Welcome Markus: I have seen your great work at Los Gatos High first hand, and know the impressive working knowledge, leadership ability, humane instincts and passion for our children you bring to Palo Alto. Nice move, Max and Board!

4 people like this
Posted by Former Paly mom
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 5, 2015 at 1:36 pm

Good to hear a local is being hired from a similar district. To the poster claiming Saratoga-Los Gators is the better district, I disagree. I taught at one of the high schools where parents raising robotic grade grabders were in abundance. Special needs and ELD students be damned.

My two adult children cannot thank Paly enough for the educations and friendships fostered there.

1 person likes this
Posted by Member
a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2015 at 3:07 pm

Describing Markus as honest is a farce. More like snakey politician who talks out of both sides of his mouth. Los Gatos is better off without the divisive Markus. I'm cringing for PA.

7 people like this
Posted by Stuck
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 5, 2015 at 5:54 pm

You've hired a practically newbie principal as your next quasi second in command, and it's taken a long time since Charles Young announced his long-expected departure after a school district finally picked him up. Virginia Davis to Charles Young and now this newbie. All those folks who predicted a decline in the PAUSD brand appear to be correct. And where is this new guy from? Well, from the same district as newly-promoted Holly Wade and former superintendent Kevin Skelly.

Like this comment
Posted by Comment
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 6, 2015 at 6:34 pm

I've visited Los Gatos HS on a few occasions and have met with Marcus during these visits. He is very charismatic and inspirational. A great hire for PA. I'm impressed.

2 people like this
Posted by Say What
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2015 at 8:19 pm

The first post is so ridiculous. Middle School Rec dept. How out of touch can you be. The CITY of Palo Alto runs the rec dept for Middle School Athletics. Why would an Asst Deputy whatever Supe even look at ATHLETICS. Clueless just clueless.

4 people like this
Posted by True
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 13, 2015 at 5:45 pm

@Say What: You could have been more kind with your words. We experienced middle school athletics and yes, it is publicized that it's run by the City of Palo Alto. But not all parents are engaged. In our experience, the coaches might as well be cardboard stand-ups. The real training is off-campus through club teams.

I'm glad to see that McGee is continuing to be productive and improve our school district after our figurehead superintendent of prior years.

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

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