Escondido Elementary principal announces retirement

Chuck Merritt to leave after 25 years in district

Longtime Palo Alto Unified administrator Chuck Merritt will be retiring as principal of Escondido Elementary School at the end of the school year, he announced in a message to staff and parents on Friday.

Merritt, who has worked in the district for 25 years, has been Escondido's principal since 2015.

"It is with mixed feelings that I announce my retirement from K-12 education in June," he wrote in his message. "This is my 25th year working for Palo Alto Unified, my 30th in California and my 17th as a school administrator and 30th as a public school educator."

Merritt said he and his wife have been living in both the Bay Area and Fresno for several years, and he has decided to move to Fresno to be with his wife and "pursue opportunities in higher education." He told the Weekly he plans to work in teacher preparation in the Central Valley.

Merritt, a longtime Spanish teacher, first joined the district as a teacher at Palo Alto High School in 1993. He was one of the first parents to enroll a child in Escondido's Spanish immersion program.

At Paly, Merritt also worked as a technology learning coordinator, then as an assistant principal. He was promoted to principal of El Carmelo Elementary School in 2008.

When he moved to Escondido, he also took on a new district position, overseeing world languages for pre-K through high school.

Merritt will leave the district in June. His early announcement gives the district's human resources department "the time needed to do a thorough search for my successor," he told staff and parents, who will be able to provide input during the search.

Merritt is the latest school personnel change announced in the last week. Paly Principal Kim Diorio notified staff on Feb. 23 that she is taking a leave of absence through the spring and it was announced at Tuesday's board meeting that longtime Chief Budget Official Cathy Mak will retire in the fall.


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10 people like this
Posted by Gary Ruppel
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 5, 2018 at 10:31 am

Congratulations must go to Chuck for his many contributions over the years to the children of the Palo Alto Unified School District. I remember when Chuck was principal at El Carmelo Elementary how involved he was with both the students and the neighborhood. He was instrumental in obtaining the services of crossing guards at a very busy intersection. Thanks Chuck and good luck to both you and your wife in what appears to be semi-retirement. Well deserved!

8 people like this
Posted by Thank you, Chuck.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 5, 2018 at 10:58 am

Thank you, Chuck. is a registered user.

Chuck has been an excellent school site leader--an able administrator who is thoughtfully considerate of students', teachers' and familiies' needs, a good listener, an effective team leader. I'm grateful for his service. Best wishes in your retirement, Chuck.

4 people like this
Posted by Matt P
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 5, 2018 at 12:58 pm

Thanks Chuck (Mr. Merritt) , we enjoyed you during your stint at El Carmelo, best of luck to you!

1 person likes this
Posted by Any Member
a resident of Midtown
on May 19, 2018 at 8:02 pm

Good luck on your retirement. If it's true you're being replaced by a recently fired principal from the MVWSD dual immersion program, best of luck to Escondido--the school will certainly need it!

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