Mary Gloner, a local health educator, has been selected to lead Project Safety Net, a community coalition formed in the wake of a youth suicide cluster in 2009, 2010 and 2011, the City of Palo Alto announced Wednesday.
Project Safety Net -- a collaborative that includes officials from the city, school district and local nonprofits, as well as mental-health professionals -- has been without an executive director since 2014. The group struggled to attract and retain a quality person skilled enough to lead a large group of more than 40 organizations and for what was an hourly position that offered no benefits or job security.
Gloner was chosen after two community-panel interviews, as well as interviews with City Manager Jim Keene, Palo Alto school district Superintendent Max McGee and a group of alumni and current Palo Alto high school students.
Her professional experience includes time as health education manager at Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI), a San Jose-based nonprofit that provides a range of services and resources to Asian-Americans (including mental-health services to children and parents in the Palo Alto school district); director of administration for Sacred Heart Community Service, a San Jose nonprofit that supports working poor families; and, most recently, chief operating officer for RotaCare Bay Area, a San Jose nonprofit that operates free health clinics throughout the Bay Area.
Gloner holds a master's degree in public health from San Jose State University and an master's in business administration from the University of California, Berkeley.
She also has local roots: She attended Palo Alto schools, graduating from Palo Alto High School.
"I look forward to serving the Palo Alto community," Gloner said in a statement. "As a former PAUSD student, I understand the pressures of achieving academic excellence in Silicon Valley. I am dedicated to changing the narrative on mental health stigma and improving our culture for Palo Alto youth."
Gloner will begin her position on Jan. 25, according to the city's announcement. She will be a provisional employee for the city, working for one year pending performance and further funding appropriation from the city and other PSN partners, the announcement reads. Her salary will be $120,000.
The community will have a chance to talk to Gloner at a meet-and-greet after a regularly scheduled Project Safety Net meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at the Lucie Stern Community Center Ballroom, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. The meeting begins at 4 p.m.
There will also be a presentation from Chris Tanti, CEO of headspace, a national youth mental health initiative in Australia that provides early intervention services from physical and mental health to alcohol and other drugs, work and study issues to 12- to 25-year-olds at dozens of centers located throughout the country.
Stanford University's recently formed Center for Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing is eyeing headspace as a potential model for adolescent mental health clinics it hopes to open in the Bay Area and across the country.