Hello and welcome to my page! I am excited and honored to be the new Superintendent of Palo Alto Unified School District and am looking forward to getting to know our schools, our larger community, and each of you as I visit schools and attend community events. I know I have much to learn about this accomplished district and will strive to leverage my 40+ years of public and private school experience into tangible actions and decisions that will sustain and improve the high quality of teaching and learning, positively engage the greater community, and make this great school district greater … and ideally, the greatest. I bring to PAUSD a passionate belief in the abilities and assets of all students; a profound respect and support for the Board, faculty, families, staff, and community members; the proven ability to listen carefully and build consensus, and especially the exuberant energy, drive, and work ethic to overcome any obstacle in order to get the job done.
As I start my first year as the Superintendent of this wonderful district, I want, in the words of Steven Covey, “first to understand, then be understood,” and to learn more about your aspirations for your children, our schools, and our district. In later updates to this web page, I will be sharing some of my thoughts and learnings regarding teaching and learning, parent and community engagement, and preparing students for careers that do not yet exist. Also, as my goals and plans for PAUSD’s future crystallize, I will communicate them through this web page and during a series of “second cup of coffee” meetings at the schools and in the community.
One leadership lesson I learned long ago is that we all have a role to play in the success of our students and schools. Whether or not you have a child in our schools, you can be active in the school district and make this community stronger by sharing your “talent, time, and treasure” with us in a multitude of ways. In a district this diverse and vibrant, there are many opportunities for all to engage; and if you have not already done so, I urge you to read our Strategic Plan and to consider how you might participate in advancing these goals.
During my first few days in the district, I have been asked about priorities and what I hope to accomplish the first 100 days. Aside from building relationships and taking steps that will lead to strengthening a culture of trust, fostering mutual respect among all stakeholders, and ensuring a broad-based fervent commitment to our collective goals, my top priorities this first year are:
- Communicate frequently and clearly the successes and challenges before us to engage everyone and to inspire collaboration for continued student success.
- Ensure all students have ample opportunities and equal access to experience high quality teaching and special programs steeped in research-based and student-centered best practices with support from the diverse community resources that Palo Alto organizations and individuals provide.
- Balance site autonomy with the cohesive focus on district best practices and our shared mission and vision.
You may already be aware of the PAUSD Vision and Mission statements, but I am including them below as a friendly reminder of why we are all here dedicating our time and talents to our students.
Vision: We support all PAUSD students as they prepare themselves to thrive as global citizens in a rapidly changing world. We develop our students’ knowledge, critical thinking, and problem solving skills, and nurture their curiosity, creativity, and resilience, empowering every child to reach his or her fullest intellectual, social, and creative potential.
Mission: We are a public, pre-K-12 school district that unites our students, teachers, staff, and parents to deliver on our collective vision by offering a rich and challenging academic experience to all students within a supportive community, dedicated to preparing our youth for the challenges of living in a fast-changing world.
As I move forward through the year, I hope to have many opportunities to meet each of you and to find ways we can work together to bring these important statements to life and to make them a reality for all our children every day.
Glenn “Max” McGee, Ph.D.