Local health educator tapped to lead Palo Alto's Project Safety Net

Mary Gloner fills leadership position vacant since 2014

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.

Related content:

Project Safety Net prepares for new direction

On youth collaborative, city looks for more from school district

As director leaves, Project Safety Net hones mission

Teen well-being collaborative seeks new model

Elena Kadvany contributed to this story.

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5 people like this
Posted by Happy Palo Altan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 20, 2016 at 8:12 pm

Delighted to see Mary Gloner named to lead Project Safety Net. She brings a great skill set and has first hand understanding of Palo Alto. I hope the entire community rallies around her to support the important work of Project Safety Net.

3 people like this
Posted by fcservices
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 21, 2016 at 11:17 am

We're delighted to see this position filled, and look forward to working with Ms. Gloner.

8 people like this
Posted by Harold A. Maio
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 21, 2016 at 11:21 am

---I am dedicated to changing the narrative on mental health stigma

I am unsure of the meaning in the above statement. IS this person offering validation to a "stigma"?

If so, her narrative is far from helpful.

13 people like this
Posted by Downtown parent
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 21, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Wrong concept again - this issue is beyond the health/medical connotation. It's a schooling system, i.e. lack of continuity between elementary-middle-high schools in their teaching approaches, values, principles. etc. First being baby-sat at elementary with tons of arts and crafts and almost no homework; then receiving A for efforts in middle; finally facing reality/shock in a high school.
You need to start changes within the PAUSD or even on a bigger scale.

6 people like this
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 21, 2016 at 1:28 pm

Congratulations to Mrs Gloner and to Project Safety Net and those in the community that this change will benefit.

With all due respect to Downtown Parent, I believe that the school policies are only part of the problem and the bigger problem is with a degradation of parenting skills and application. School system policies can definitely play a very large role in the problem facing our families. But with supportive family structures, much of the stresses of school life can be offset.

Responsible parents owe it to our children and our community to get involved with the schools and organizations such as Project Safety Net to offer support and help guide their future course. And we also owe it to our kids to do our best as parents. I have been studying education, psychology and specifically parenting for quite a while and see a huge opportunity for advances with all three in Palo Alto and the surrounding area.

(FYI- I am a teacher & parent, have a child who has seriously contemplated suicide and have many direct connections to suicide, depression and agencies dealing with such issues)

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

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