Deputy Superintendent Karen Hendricks, who led Palo Alto Unified for nine months after the resignation of former Superintendent Max McGee, is leaving the school district to become a superintendent in Southern California.
Hendricks has been named the new superintendent of the Alta Loma School District in Rancho Cucamonga.
Hendricks came to Palo Alto in July 2017 to become the district's assistant superintendent of human resources. In September, following the upheaval of McGee's departure, she was appointed interim superintendent and held the position until Superintendent Don Austin was hired. While interim superintendent, Hendricks also convened and led a task force devoted to addressing sexual assault and harassment in the district.
Hendricks said the job in the K-8 Alta Loma district appealed to her for the chance to return to her roots as an elementary and middle school teacher and principal, to work in a much smaller school district (approximately 5,800 students) and be closer to where her three daughters live.
"The opportunities provided to me by the Board of Education and Superintendent Austin have meant a tremendous amount to me," she wrote in an email. "I've met and worked with some extremely thoughtful and committed people here; together we've taken on important initiatives on behalf of the student experience. When I head south in January, it's going to be with nothing but continued appreciation and best wishes for the Palo Alto community."
In a statement, Austin said that Hendricks served the district "at the highest level and through some challenging times.
"She led through transitions as the interim superintendent, made significant contributions in the area of Title IX, recruited and hired prominent positions, and was in the middle of every decision during an unprecedented extended closure," he wrote. "She did it all with a smile, great attitude, and thick skin."
Hendricks' resignation is effective Jan. 31.
Megan Farrell, the district's first-ever full-time Title IX coordinator, is also resigning effective Nov. 20, to go into private practice, Austin said. Her position later shifted to part-time; General Counsel Komey Vishakan will be making a recommendation soon whether the Title IX coordinator should be a full- or part-time position, Austin said.
Karen Ersted, a Title IX administrative support specialist, is also resigning effective Nov. 19.