Update: The school board unanimously approved these appointments on Tuesday, May 22, as part of consent-calendar items that are approved routinely without discussion.
The school district announced Friday new principals for Palo Alto High School and Escondido and Fairmeadow elementary schools.
Adam Paulson. Image courtesy Palo Alto High School.
Adam Paulson, currently the assistant principal of teaching and learning at Paly, has been named the school's permanent principal. He will replace Principal Kim Diorio, who recently announced she would resign at the end of the school year after taking a sudden medical leave in February.
Paulson was recently appointed acting principal after an interim principal brought in temporarily in Diorio's absence left due his grandchild's birth.
Paulson takes over Paly during turbulent times, with faculty who supported Diorio in upheaval over her departure and some parents still concerned about the administration's improper handling of two cases of student sexual assault in recent years. Some parents have urged the district against appointing Paulson as principal given he was involved in one of the cases.
Diorio said she planned to return to work this spring but has not yet. The school year ends in two weeks. Interim Superintendent Karen Hendricks said there will be an "update" this week on Diorio but did not provide further information.
Paulson has worked in the Paly administration since 2014, when he was hired as the school's dean of students. In his current role, he oversees student activities, attendance, academic integrity, blended learning, technology and other areas, according to the Paly website.
Paulson began his career as a paraprofessional in Colorado, working with students with special needs, and went on to work as a history teacher, elementary school principal and middle school assistant principal in California, according to a district announcement.
At Escondido Elementary School, the principal of a Mountain View dual-immersion school will take over for retiring Principal Chuck Merritt. Escondido houses the district's Spanish immersion program.
Marcela Simões de Carvalho is currently the principal of Gabriela Mistral Elementary School in the Mountain View/Whisman School District. Mistral opened in 2015, splitting off a dual immersion program from Castro Elementary School, where she had been assistant principal. She is Mistral's first principal.
Simões de Carvalho was one of four Mountain View principals suddenly removed by the school board in March.
She is fluent in Spanish and has worked in education for more than 20 years, including 12 years in administrative roles including program manager, director of categorical and English learner programs, assistant principal and principal, according to the district. She has also taught part time at San Jose State University, preparing teacher candidates in literacy, multicultural and bilingual education, and instructing graduate courses on early literacy and language acquisition.
Simões de Carvalho was born in Argentina but was raised in Palo Alto, where she attended Barron Park Elementary School, Terman Middle School and Gunn High School.
At Fairmeadow Elementary School, a JLS Middle School administrator will be taking over as principal. Iris Wong, who has been an assistant principal and dean of students at JLS for the last three years, will replace Principal Grant Althouse, who is moving out of the area.
Wong is currently the eighth-grade assistant principal at JLS.
Prior to Palo Alto, Wong spent nine years as an elementary teacher and administrative teacher on special assignment in the Cupertino Union School District.
At the schools, committees made of up teachers, staff, parents and at Paly, students, interviewed candidates, said Anne Brown, interim assistant superintendent of human resources. The committees then recommended their picks to Hendricks, who conducted a second round of interviews with three members of her cabinet, Brown said.
Other impending leadership vacancies have yet to be filled, including at Hoover Elementary School, where Principal Katy Bimpson is moving to lead Juana Briones Elementary School. The district's chief budget official, Cathy Mak, also plans to retire in the fall.
The school board will vote on the new appointments this Tuesday, May 22.