Heidi Emberling

  • published Focused Goals 2016-17 in Governance 2016-09-05 12:05:46 -0700

    Focused Goals 2016-17 Academic Year

    Here are the PAUSD School Board Focused Goals for the 2016-2017 Academic Year:

    High Quality Teaching and Learning

    Engage every student in joyful, purposeful learning that appropriately challenges all students to ensure core content mastery and maximizes each student's opportunity to excel academically. 

    Equity and Access

    Assure that every student has access to multiple programs, services, activities and enrichment experiences that support student learning and enable each individual to achieve his or her fullest intellectual, creative, and social potential. 

    Wellness and Safety

    Provide for the social, emotional, and physical health needs of students and staff and cultivate positive, identity-safe school environments that promote high levels of connection, engagement and overall well-being throughout the school.

    For Measures and Deliverables, click HERE for School Board packet on August 23, 2016.

  • published Welcome Back! in School board blog (2016 and prior) 2016-08-29 13:35:28 -0700

    Welcome Back!


    Welcome back to the 2016-17 school year.  Here at PAUSD, we hit the ground running with back to school events around the district.  I was happy to attend several welcome events, including a new teacher breakfast with 100 of our new classroom superheroes.  Looking forward to their energy and enthusiasm throughout our excellent school district. I also stopped by the Barron Park Ice Cream Social on a lovely afternoon just before the start of school.  On the first day of the new year, I brought some sweet treats over to my liaison schools: Fairmeadow, El Carmelo, Nixon, and Jordan Middle School.  Everyone was busy and excited to welcome students and families.  I wish you all a wonderful year! 

  • published Issues in About Heidi 2016-05-23 19:13:37 -0700


    Heidi's Priorities

    My top priority is making sure every student in our district receives the highest quality education and leaves high school with the confidence, skills, and knowledge to thrive in college and beyond.  We need to provide educational experiences that meet the diverse needs of our students, focusing not only on academic achievement, but also on building skills that promote a healthy, balanced life.  

    Innovations in Teaching and Learning:

    We must continue to invest in innovative ways to connect, engage, and support our students in learning.  I support creating smaller schools within a school, which we have piloted by adding transition programs to high school, and "pathways" in fields such as social justice, engineering, computer science, sports management, child development, and biomedical science.  We've piloted flipped classrooms, maker spaces, and a new Advanced Authentic Research program.  We've introduced Teacher's College Reader's and Writer's Workshops and will pilot new math curricula in our elementary schools this year.  My goal is to increase student engagement and positive connection to school. 

    Youth Health and Well-Being:

    I am working hard to strengthen our district health and wellness initiatives.  In response to Palo Alto’s devastating suicide cluster, we invited the CDC to come to our community and conduct an Epi-Aid study, which analyzes risk factors, protective factors, and best practices around youth health and well-being.  I also supported the change in our high schools to a less stressful block schedule, the elimination of early classes, and an increase in our counseling and mental health specialists. I support a district wellness team, more nurses for our elementary schools, and the creation of a committee to evaluate social and emotional learning curricula across our district.  Our school climates should be safe, warm, and welcoming for students, teachers, and families.  

    Investing in Teachers:

    We must invest in our most important classroom resource, our amazing teachers.  These are talented, hard-working individuals who have the power to guide, inspire, and connect with our students every day.  I’m proud to have voted to create a $5 million teacher professional development fund, promoting a culture of continuous learning not only for our students, but for our faculty as well.  We are facing a national teacher shortage and we must remain competitive in order to recruit, mentor, support, evaluate, and retain our high-quality teaching force.

    I believe my background and experience have prepared me well to serve on the Palo Alto School Board.  If you agree, I invite you to get involved with the re-election campaign.  Endorse me, make a donation, take a lawn sign or volunteer to walk a precinct.  

    Thank you so much for your support!  




  • Heidi's PAUSD School Board Newsletter - June 2014

    In June, we had our last two School Board meetings for the 2013-2014 school year, and we get a few weeks off in July before coming back to school in mid-August.  I hope everyone is enjoying some fun family time this summer.

    Here's the summary of news for the month:

    OCR RESOLUTION: The School Board voted to support a resolution calling attention to significant concerns about the investigative practices of the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.  The Board respects and values the purpose and mission of the OCR and we hope that a public discussion of our concerns will lead to a more efficient, effective, and collaborative process that will better serve our students, teachers, and families.  To read the resolution and background information, click HERE and download the June 3rd or June 17th Board packets.  You can watch our discussion on the MidPeninsula Community Media Center website HERE.

    Read more

  • PAUSD Summer School Visit

    BPSummerSchool.jpg  BP_SummerSchool2.jpg

    In June, I had the pleasure of visiting Barron Park to see PAUSD Summer School in action.  Principal Arcia Dorosti and Summer School Coordinator Dr. Kara Rosenberg gave me a tour of the wonderful elementary school programs and projects going on this summer.  Innovative teaching practices based on the "engineering design process" are embedded in every class, whether intervention or enrichment.  (See "Makerspace" classroom photo above for creativity in action!)  The students and teachers are actively engaged and excited for the project-based learning going on in every classroom.  About 400 elementary students are enrolled at Barron Park and Escondido, 180 middle students are enrolled at Terman, and about 700 high school student (session 1) and 500 high school students (session 2) are enrolled at Gunn. 

  • Heidi's PAUSD School Board Newsletter - May 2014

    Congratulations, Graduates!  This week, I had the pleasure of accepting, on behalf of the Palo Alto Unified School District Board of Education, the 2014 graduating class at Palo Alto High School, the eighth grade promotion class at JLS Middle School, and my daughter's fifth grade promotion class at Juana Briones Elementary School.  It was a week of excitement, reflection, and an opportunity to celebrate our students' hard work, dedication, and achievement.  I am consistently impressed with the students I meet, both for their academic efforts and their commitment to creating caring, supportive environments at their schools and in the larger community.  From becoming a "buddy" to a student with special challenges to volunteering time and energy with Youth Community Service, these students exemplify our dual strategic plan goals of excellence in education and strong personal growth and development.

    NEW SUPERINTENDENT: The Board of Education is pleased to have chosen a finalist for our new Superintendent. 

    Read more

  • Ohlone Principal Bill Overton Retires


    I was happy to attend the retirement celebration for long-time Ohlone teacher and Principal Bill Overton (seen here playing the guitar for a campus sing-along).  Bill served at Ohlone for more than 30 years and will be missed by the entire PAUSD community.  His commitment to Ohlone's Core Values and to the Ohlone Way leaves a strong legacy for both former and future students.  I was able to stop by the Ohlone Volunteer Thank You party a few days before this celebration and Bill was in great spirits for his next adventures.  The Ohlone community is eager to embrace their new Principal, Louise "Nicki" Smith, an experienced Principal for more than 15 years in several schools with similar philosophies of teaching and learning.  For the past three years, she has served as a reading specialist at Ohlone, so she is already an integral part of the school family.  Congratulations, Bill, and welcome to Nicki! 

  • Addison Spring Visit

    It was a pleasure to stop by and visit with teachers and outgoing and incoming PTA Presidents at Addison elementary this week.  Everyone is excited to meet the new Addison Principal, Amanda Boyce.  She is presently the principal at Stocklmeir Elementary School in the Cupertino Union School District, where she has served for the past two years.  She has held a variety of leadership positions in Cupertino including district curriculum support teacher, intervention teacher, new teacher mentor, and summer school principal for the Special Education program.  I met Ms. Boyce and her family at a recent School Board meeting, where she commented, “As a mother and educator, I appreciate the District’s work to ensure that academic progress is balanced with social and emotional development.  I am eager to get to know the students, staff, and parents of Addison School and look forward to collaborating on a vision that supports the growth of each child.”  Welcome to Palo Alto!

  • City Council Tours Schools


    One of my committee assignments is the City/Schools Liaison Committee.  My colleague Dana Tom and I invited our City Council liaisons, Vice-Mayor Liz Kniss, and Councilmember Greg Schmid, to tour Gunn High School, JLS Middle School, and Fairmeadow Elementary School.  There are new buildings on each of these campuses, funded by the Strong Schools Bond, a $378 million bond passed by the Palo Alto community in 2008 with nearly 78% of the vote.  Our city colleagues enjoyed seeing the completed construction at each school site, which now benefits thousands of students in our district. 

  • JLS Middle School Promotion 2014

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    I was honored to accept, on behalf of the Palo Alto Unified School District Board of Education, the JLS Middle School 8th grade promotion class of 2014.  Principal Sharon Ofek congratulated the students in poetry form, honoring their hard work and thanking the teachers and parents for supporting, inspiring, and preparing students for the next phase of their learning in high school.  It was nice to hear 31 students welcome families in 31 different world languages.  My colleague, Camille Townsend, reminded students to remember their "ABCs," Always Be Creative, Always Be Colorful, Always Be Communicating."  Congratulations graduates! 

  • Paly Graduation 2014

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    I was honored to accept, on behalf of the Palo Alto Unified School District Board of Education, the 475 graduates from Palo Alto High School's graduating class of 2014.  It was a memorable evening, with very moving student speeches and great performances from our talented students.  Congratulations to Principal Kim DiOrio on completion of her first year as Principal.  This is definitely one of the best perks of the job. 

  • Palo Verde Spring Visit


    Today I stopped by Palo Verde to visit with Principal Anne Brown and thank the teachers, staff, and students for a fabulous year.  I was lucky enough to see some literacy samples across grade levels, reflecting the partnership work between Teachers College and the Palo Verde staff this year and it was very impressive.  The ability to create a strong piece of writing will serve these students well as they move through PAUSD.  I also had the opportunity to see the last meeting of the Project Cornerstone parent volunteers, who have donated their time, energy, and enthusiasm towards our students' social and emotional health this year.

  • March 2013 Newsletter

    School districts are busy places with hundreds of decisions being made every day in classrooms, at school sites, and around the district office.  As one important issue engages the school board's time and attention, other issues wait to be addressed.  Add on the demands of a job and family, and this becomes quite a balancing act!  Superintendent Skelly recently told me the school board job can become a "jealous lover," and I see his point. 

    Read more

  • followed January 2013 Newsletter 2013-03-30 15:40:56 -0700

    January 2013 Newsletter

    A very Happy New Year to you!  I was officially sworn in on December 7th and have already attended my first two school board meetings.  What I've learned so far is that there is a lot to learn!  I look forward to sending out monthly updates about our school district and education issues around the state. 

    Read more

  • published Endorsements in About Heidi 2016-01-19 16:30:57 -0800


    Elected Officials

    simitianREV.jpg     Joe Simitian, California State Senator, 11th District

    LizSQ.jpg     Liz Kniss, Santa Clara County Supervisor, Former Palo Alto Mayor

    BarbMitchellSQ.jpg     Barb Mitchell, Palo Alto School Board

    YiawaySQ.jpg     Yiaway Yeh, Palo Alto Mayor

    gailpriceSQ.jpg     Gail Price, Palo Alto City Council, Former President, Palo Alto School Board

    holman.jpg     Karen Holman, Palo Alto City Council

    shepherd.jpg     Nancy Shepherd, Palo Alto City Council

    lkleinSQ.jpg     Larry Klein, Palo Alto City Council

    sid_espinosaSQ.jpg     Sid Espinosa, Palo Alto City Council

    patburtSQ.jpg     Pat Burt, Palo Alto City Council

    gregscharff.jpg     Greg Scharff, Palo Alto City Council

    RichSQ.jpg     Rich Gordon, California State Assembly, 21st District

    jerryhill.jpg     Jerry Hill, California State Assembly, 19th District

    Community Leaders

    Stacey Ashlund, Palo Alto Parks and Recreation Commission

    Raymond Bacchetti, Human Relations Commission; Former President, Palo Alto School Board

    Bern Beecham, Former Palo Alto Mayor

    Melinda Christopherson, Palo Alto Recreation Foundation Board

    DAWN (Democratic Activists for Women Now), Official Endorsement

    Penny Ellson, Safe Routes to School, City/School Traffic Safety Committee

    Jonathan Foster, Palo Alto Utilities Advisory Commission

    Julie Jerome, Former President, Palo Alto School Board

    Darice Koo, Youth Community Service Board

    Cathy Kroymann, Former President, Palo Alto School Board

    Sally Lieber, Former Speaker Pro Tempore, California State Assembly, 22nd District

    Shelly Masur, Redwood City School Board, Former President, California School Boards Association

    Sharon Murphy, Former Director, Child and Family Resources, City of Palo Alto

    Dave Pine, Supervisor, San Mateo County; Former President, San Mateo Union High School District

    Micaela Presti, Former Co-President, Palo Alto PTA Council (PTAC)

    Diane Reklis, Former President, Palo Alto School Board

    Susie Richardson, Former President, Palo Alto School Board

    Diane Rolfe, Democratic Central Committee, Santa Clara County

    Karen Ross, Palo Alto Community Fund Board, Immediate Past-President

    Rachel Samoff, Chair, First 5 Commission, Santa Clara County

    Santa Clara County Democratic Party, Official Endorsement

    Carolyn Tucher, Former President, Palo Alto School Board

    John Tuomy, Former President, Palo Alto School Board

    Alison Van Dyke, Former Trustee, Burlingame School District

    Lanie Wheeler, Chief Financial Officer, Palo Alto Community Child Care (PACCC), Former Palo Alto Mayor


    Community Supporters

    Lorretta Abbott

    Laura Michele Agigian

    Stephanie Agnew

    Tim Alger

    Kat Alioshin

    Emily Almaer

    Sara Armstrong

    Maria Arne

    Peri Baloun

    Amy Balsom

    Sally Bemus

    Marc Berman

    Gayatri Bhaskar

    Thusha Bishop

    Lois Blank

    Ellen Bob

    Kathi Bowers

    Farah Brelvi

    Sevgi Carefoot

    Alejandra Chaverri

    Kathryn Cicero

    Todd Collins

    Carolyn Cooper

    Kerah Cottrell

    Leah Cox

    Carolyn Curtis

    Barbara Dabestani

    Denise Daniels

    Anne Dauer

    Christina Detchemendy

    Sue Dinwiddie

    Abbie Dorosin

    Elizabeth Dougherty

    Sheila Dubin

    Elizabeth Eastman

    Elizabeth Einaudi

    Brian Emberling

    Becky Epstein

    Leif Erickson

    Esther Fan

    Dana Fenwick

    Simon Firth

    Andrea Cook Fleming

    Megan Swezey Fogarty

    Catherine Crystal Foster

    Regina Franco

    Eliana Frank

    Andi Frenkel

    Rick Frenkel

    Linda Fresco

    Karen Friedland-Brown

    Khurshid Gandhi

    Svetlana Gous

    Susan Gray

    Wynn Hausser

    Walt and Kay Hays

    Norma and Vic Hesterman

    Elizabeth Hewitt

    Stephanie Hill

    Erwin Hosono

    Brette Hudacek

    Darcy Huston

    Joan Jacobus

    Inna Kaplan

    Joanie Bigwood King

    Jennifer Ko

    Keith Koegler

    Cecile Kong

    Judy and Tony Kramer

    Lori Krolik

    Yvonne and Hugh LaMaster

    Laurie Levy

    Judy Logan

    Victoria Lukanovich

    Evan Lurie

    Mimi Lyons

    Jian Ma

    Laura Mackris

    Lisa Marcacci

    Leslie and Jason Matlof

    Karen Matthys

    Catherine Matterson

    Beth Maxwell

    Aoife Maynard

    Leisa McNeese

    Erin Mershon

    Rachel Miller

    Jennifer Mutz

    Esther Nio

    Melanie Norall

    Megan O'Reilly Lewis

    Laurie Ostacher

    Jennifer Otanez

    Ying Ou

    Harry Pedersen

    Erica Pelavin

    Karen Porter

    Brian Quo

    Stacey Quo

    Judy Rattner

    Kathi Rawnsley

    Robin Reynolds

    Steve Ross

    Blanca Ruiz

    Sarah Sands

    Shuchi Sarkar

    Olga Saynina

    Harvey Schloss

    Rebecca Scholl

    Holly Shah

    Ruth-Anne Siegel

    Laurie Simonson

    Alice Smith

    Nancy Smith

    Debi Snipp

    Ilona Sockol

    Cristina Spencer

    Cara Stoneburner

    Anne Suri

    Alex Terman

    Kathy Torgersen

    Preeva Tramiel

    Samir Tuma

    Ariel Ungerleider

    Marcene Van Dierendonck

    Linda Van Gelder

    Irene Vassilopolous

    Casie Walker

    Diana Walsh

    Julie Williams

    Aisha Zakariya

    Cindy Ziebelman


  • published About Heidi 2012-02-05 14:45:50 -0800

    About Heidi

     IMG_5376.jpg  PB269128.jpg   IMG_5755.JPG 

    About Me

    Born and raised in California, I am a product of California’s public schools from kindergarten through graduate school.  I am also a proud parent of two children in PAUSD schools and I work as a teacher and parent educator at Parents Place (a parent resource center) supporting both families and teachers with the most current child development research and best practices in the early learning community.

    Like many families, we moved to Palo Alto because of the excellent reputation of its schools.  I got involved locally, serving as PTA President and Chair of the School Site Council at Juana Briones Elementary School, then joined the Board of our education foundation, Palo Alto Partners in Education (PiE).  For the past nine years, I've served on the Palo Alto Advisory Committee on Early Care and Education for the City of Palo Alto and, for the past two years, I served on both the City of Palo Alto's Housing Element Committee and the City of Palo Alto's Comprehensive Plan 2030 Committee. 

    As I serve this community in a variety of ways, I am continually impressed with the number of engaged, motivated students, remarkable teachers, and dedicated parents and community members I’ve met.  Palo Alto truly values education, as evidenced by the widespread support for our bond measures, construction bonds, and local parcel taxes.  We must ensure that our students benefit from the high standards we’ve set.  With my unique skills and experience, I am prepared and energized to serve a second term on the Palo Alto School Board; ready to collaborate as we build a strong educational foundation for every student in our district.


    PAUSD School Board Trustee, 2012-2016 (Current President)

    Parent Educator/Child Development Specialist, Parents Place
    Teacher Professional Development Instructor and Workshop Leader, Parents Place
    Palo Alto Advisory Committee on Early Care and Education (PAACECE)

    City of Palo Alto Comprehensive Plan 2030 Committee
    City of Palo Alto Housing Element Committee
    City/Schools Liaison Committee

    Stanford/PAUSD Liaison Committee
    Los Altos Hills Town Council Liaison
    PAUSD Board Policy Review Committee

    PTA President, Juana Briones Elementary School
    Chair, School Site Council, Juana Briones Elementary School
    Board Member, Palo Alto Partners in Education (PiE)

    Project Safety Net Collaborative
    Education Committee, Congregation Etz Chayim
    Graduate, Palo Alto Ambassador Program

    Volunteer Coordinator, Palo Alto Black & White Ball
    Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo
    Advisory Board Member, Camp Galileo (Developed Teacher-Trainer Program for Counselors)
    Chair, Community Advisory Committee, First 5 San Mateo County

    Producer, Writer, Editor (Emmy-nominated) for 12 years (www.newday.com)
    House Manager, Huckleberry House, Youth Advocates
    Suicide Prevention Hotline Volunteer
    Project Read Tutor


    Master's Degree in Education, Specialty in Early Childhood Education, San Francisco State University
    Master's Degree in Journalism, University of California, Berkeley
    Bachelor of Arts Degree in Language Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz

    Heidi Emberling, President, Palo Alto Unified School District School Board, 650.308.4702, hemberling(at)pausd.org

  • published Followers in Unused pages 2012-02-05 10:57:02 -0800

  • published Join 2012-02-05 10:57:00 -0800

  • published Home in Home 2012-02-05 10:57:00 -0800

    Emberling for Education

    Palo Alto is passionate about education.  Just come to any School Board meeting and you’ll find committed parents, teachers, and community members discussing hot-button issues from student achievement and student stress, to rapid enrollment growth and new curriculum.

    H_KidsGrass4x3.jpgI share that passion and have dedicated the last ten years to working in the field of education while raising my two children.  Like many families, I moved to Palo Alto because of the excellent reputation of Palo Alto’s schools.  As a teacher, parent, and educational advocate, I’ve been deeply involved in our schools both at the local and district-wide level, serving as PTA President and Chair of the School Site Council, as well as a Board Member of Partners in Education (PiE), and a Member of the Palo Alto Advisory Committee on Early Care and Education. 

    Through my involvement, I’ve learned that Palo Alto needs School Board members who understand trends in education reform, complexities of educational funding, and how to tackle difficult issues such as enrollment growth, college and career preparation, and the ongoing challenge of integrating high academic achievement with social, intellectual, and ethical learning.

    I invite you to join me in creating a vision for Palo Alto as a model school district in California: one that values inclusivity and diversity, collaboration and individual achievement.  Together, we can nurture the next generation of great thinkers, innovators, and leaders.     

    With your help, I will continue to work hard on behalf of families, teachers, and, most importantly, the remarkable students in our community.  Thank you for your support!


    Heidi Emberling, Trustee, Palo Alto Unified School District, 650.308.4702, hemberling(at)pausd.org


Assistant Director of Parent Education at Parents Place