Three Palo Alto Unified schools to get new principals

Current JLS leader moving to district job, elementary school head returning to former campus

Several Palo Alto Unified schools will have new principals this fall: JLS Middle School and Duveneck and Palo Verde elementary schools.

JLS Middle School Principal Lisa Hickey, who has led the school since 2016, will move to the district office to become director of certificated human resources. Her new position is effective July 1. Hickey is a longtime teacher and school administrator who started in the district as the principal of Juana Briones Elementary School in 2012.

Pending school board approval, Duveneck Principal Chris Grierson will replace Hickey at JLS, Superintendent Don Austin wrote in a weekly message on Friday. Grierson has been Duveneck's principal for the last eight years; before that, he worked as a teacher, dean and assistant principal at JLS, Walter Hays Elementary School and Frank S. Greene Jr. Middle School.

Grierson "requested the transfer as a professional growth opportunity and chance to return to his former site," Austin wrote. "A confirmation committee supported his request and Mr. Grierson has enthusiastically accepted the appointment." The district is currently looking for Grierson's replacement.

A search is also underway for a replacement for Palo Verde Principal Hillary Miller, who has resigned due to personal reasons, Austin said. Miller was named principal in 2016 after a year of three interim principals at Palo Verde. Her resignation "had nothing to do with her performance. We think very highly of Hillary and respect her decision," Austin said.


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15 people like this
Posted by Pied Piper
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 7, 2019 at 10:32 am

Pied Piper is a registered user.

Musical principals again. The best go to administration. Teachers should be paid the most. Administrators on par. No more for sure.

18 people like this
Posted by Jim H
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 7, 2019 at 11:29 am

Aren't/Weren't Hickey and Grierson two of the leaders of PAMA, the group that threatened to unionize if they didn't get "me too" raises a few years ago?

And now, not only are they getting their requested jobs, but the district is going to institute "me too" raises for PAMA members.

Are we to honestly believe that the board is really looking out for the students and not the pocketbooks of PAMA?

18 people like this
Posted by Easy, fellow citizens.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 7, 2019 at 1:57 pm

Easy, fellow citizens. is a registered user.

Chris Grierson is a good administrator. He was well-liked at Duveneck (and JLS when he was previously there). I have worked with him as a district parent, and I appreciate his calm demeanor, willingness to listen to viewpoints different from his own and his professionalism.

Congrats to Chris and JLS!

14 people like this
Posted by Whoa Nellie!
a resident of Juana Briones School
on May 7, 2019 at 2:52 pm

Lisa Hickey was one of the BEST principals in the district. She is fair, competent, and courageous. She will make a smooth transition to her next post. She is a strong advocate for students, parents, and the community.

8 people like this
Posted by Cover-up Culture
a resident of Community Center
on May 7, 2019 at 6:15 pm

Lisa Hickey [portion removed] and Chris Grierson defended Max McGee, who managed to give away an extra $6 million to the teacher's union through mismanagement (that would have helped a me-too raise for administrators),and didn't ask or make his administrators follow anti discrimination laws. No wonder they defended him. So much for the students.

10 people like this
Posted by Former Briones parent
a resident of Barron Park
on May 7, 2019 at 7:29 pm

[Post removed .]

10 people like this
Posted by Jim H
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 8, 2019 at 2:29 pm

Jim H is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

It's easy to see why Grierson and Hickey, as the PAMA leaders, pushed for "me too" raises. You don't have to meet any performance standards, you just have to be "good". Look at the Paly and Gunn principals. Both of them were called out for mishandling sexual assaults and they got promoted.

Just shuffle them around and promote them as needed. By the time people catch on, their children will be out of the system.

2 people like this
Posted by member1
a resident of another community
on May 9, 2019 at 10:33 am

member1 is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Like this comment
Posted by Just average
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 9, 2019 at 5:18 pm

Hickey and Grierson were average principals, or are average principals, but they have survived to get promoted. I would love a counter-argument that these "promotions" are being made on merit.

Like this comment
Posted by Jim H
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 9, 2019 at 6:53 pm

"average" is all you need to be to get promoted in PAUSD. Now the board has assured that with 5 years of "me too" raises.

Like this comment
Posted by member1
a resident of another community
on May 16, 2019 at 6:58 pm

member1 is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

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

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