SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH UPDATE: We are actively searching for the next superhero to helm our high-performing school district. Community input was solicited throughout the month of April from a variety of stakeholders and a job description was created and posted. This is a confidential process to encourage the widest diversity of applicants, including sitting Superintendents. The Board met on April 30th with our search firm, Leadership Associates, to discuss applications and we will be interviewing candidates next week. The new Superintendent will start on July 1st.
PRINCIPAL SEARCH UPDATE: We have excellent candidates for our elementary principal and asst. principal openings, which will be recommended for Board approval in May. Matthew Lindner, current Literacy TOSA (Teacher On Special Assignment) and former Palo Verde teacher will join Jordan Middle School as Assistant Principal. Amanda Boyce, currently a principal in the Cupertino Union School District, will be recommended for principal at Addison Elementary School. Grant Althouse, currently an Assistant Principal at Jordan Middle School and former teacher at Addison (and former student at Walter Hays!), will be recommended for principal at Fairmeadow Elementary School. Louise "Nicki" Smith, current reading specialist at Ohlone and former principal (for 15 years at several different schools), will be recommended for principal at Ohlone Elementary School. And Katya Villalobos, current principal at Gunn High School, will be recommended for principal of the Palo Alto Adult School.
NEW HIGH SCHOOL COURSES FOR 2014-2015: I am continually impressed with the quality of new courses offered at our secondary schools. In April, we approved the following new classes at Paly: "Early Childhood Development," "Getting into the Game," "Computer Science Principles," and a Sports Career Pathway. Last year, I met with Dr. Skelly, Sharon Keplinger, Principal of our Early Education programs, Dave Hoshiwara, our Career/Tech guru, and Kim DiOrio, Principal at Paly and we discussed how to create a child development course that includes a lab component in our preschool classrooms at Greendell. The group recruited Hilary McDaniel, History and Social Science teacher at Paly, to create a curriculum and 64 students have already enrolled. To read more about all of these exciting new courses, click HERE and download the Board Packet from our April 22nd meeting.
COMMUNITY DONATION TO JORDAN: A generous community member stepped forward to donate $250,000 towards the Jordan Athletic Site Improvements project. These funds will create a walk path around the fields area, a long jump pit, and replacements for basketball poles/backboards and tennis court poles. I am constantly amazed at the generosity of our community towards our excellent schools.
BOND ISSUANCE AND SALE: During our April 22nd meeting, district fiscal advisor Tony Hsieh, of Keygent, presented information about our fourth bond issuance of the Strong Schools Bond, a $378 million bond measure passed by voters in 2008. Since that time, three series of bonds have been issues. The first was in the amount of $120 million in 2008. The second, $25 million, with interest subsidized by Federal stimulus funds, was issued in 2010. The third was in the amount of $70 million and was issued in March 2013. It is anticipated that this fourth issuance in the amount of $40 million will provide funding through 2016. This issue will be all current interest bonds, no capital appreciation bonds (CABs). There has also been state legislation prohibiting debt service to bond proceeds ratios that are higher than 4:1. Ours are projected at 1.2:1.
EXPANSION OF "CONNECTIONS" PROGRAM: JLS Middle School Principal Sharon Ofek is seriously considering expanding the sixth grade connections program for next year. The waiting list for this program is very long and parents would like the program expanded. Stay tuned for more information. If you would be interested in an expanded connections program, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and let your voice be heard.