The Palo Alto school district's longtime assistant superintendent for human resources, Scott Bowers, plans to retire at the end of this school year, he confirmed to the Weekly Wednesday, Jan. 25.
Bowers first started in the district as Palo Alto High School's assistant principal in 1993. He next served as Fairmeadow Elementary School's principal before moving to his current position at the district office 12 years ago.
Bowers' role has a wide reach in the district. In addition to overseeing employment, payroll, benefits, staff evaluations and discipline, Bowers negotiates the teachers and classified unions' contracts on behalf of the district, including its most recent three-year contract approved last spring. Bowers' role as the district's bargaining representative has drawn criticism in recent years given he ultimately receives a pay increase equal to what he has negotiated with the unions.
Bowers also is tasked with conducting personnel investigations, such as the allegations of misconduct reported to the district in 2014 about former Paly English teacher Kevin Sharp.
Bowers' retirement could mean a restructuring of the district's union contracts negotiating team, Superintendent Max McGee said Wednesday. Before Bowers made his decision, the district started looking at creating a "larger" negotiating group that would involve the assistant superintendent for human resources, but not necessarily as the lead representative, McGee said.
Bowers started his career 26 years ago as a mathematics teacher. He also served as assistant director of the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) for two years.
"I've been in public education here in California for — let's see, where are we at? 26 years. It was just the right time," he said of his retirement.
Bowers is the district's second-highest paid administrator after McGee. He will earn $219,000 this school year, including a $450-per-month car allowance.
Bowers will stay with the district through the end of the school year in June. McGee said the district plans to advertise and hopefully fill the position as soon as possible.