The Pleasanton Unified School District will be starting the 2023-24 school year with two new principal hires while also saying goodbye to one recognizable administrator who recently accepted a job in Dublin.
The PUSD Board of Trustees recently appointed two new principals -- one for Pleasanton Middle School and one for Walnut Grove Elementary School -- at its June 22 board meeting.
Students at Pleasanton Middle will be seeing a new leader greeting them this upcoming school year, Marco Lopez.
Lopez joins the Pleasanton community after having worked 12 years at Parkway Middle School in South San Francisco. He served as the school's vice principal during his first year and then as principal for the last 11 years.
He will be replacing former Pleasanton Middle School principal Joe Nguyen who announced his resignation in March after nearly four years of being at the school.
The news of Nguyen's departure came just a couple of months after administrators faced criticism from parents about the response to a Pleasanton Middle School student who punched and stomped on the head of another student in front of the Pleasanton Public Library on Jan. 19, an incident that was captured on video and went viral on local social media.
"During his time at Parkway Middle, Mr. Lopez established himself through his ability to lead a shift toward a positive school culture and climate," PUSD director of communications Patrick Gannon told the Weekly. "He accomplished this through his focus on building trust and meaningful relationships across his school community."
No stranger to the Bay Area, Lopez obtained his master's degree in education administration from San Francisco State University and his bachelor's degree in liberal studies with an emphasis on children from San Jose State University.
According to Gannon, Lopez also helped create a number of committees at Parkway, which focused on safety and discipline. Those committees helped provide updates and input so that the school could better tackle issues that the school faced.
"He values relationship and community building as well as approaching everything through an equity and student-centered lens," Gannon said.
In addition to his administrative experience, Lopez has experience as an elementary and middle school teacher.
Meanwhile at Walnut Grove, parents and community members will be seeing a familiar PUSD face as their new elementary school principal.
Georgianna "Gigi" Kruse-Silva, who spent the last four years at Harvest Park Middle School as their vice principal, will now be taking on the main leadership role at Walnut Grove.
"Mrs. Kruse-Silva brings over 20 years of experience in education to Walnut Grove, including five years as an administrator and over 15 years as a classroom teacher and professional development trainer," Gannon said.
After being hired by PUSD in 2019, Kruse-Silva became known for fostering a positive school culture at Harvest Park through her ability to connect with staff and students, according to Gannon.
Since 2019, she has also worked in supporting students with special needs by serving as the interim assistant director of special education services and as the coordinator of extended school year programs
Before coming to Pleasanton, Kruse-Silva worked at the Sequoia Union High School District in Redwood City and had many roles including teaching, professional development and mentoring programs for kids.
Her educational background includes a masters degree in natural science from San Jose State and a bachelor's degree in biology from George Mason University.
Kruse-Silva will be replacing former Walnut Grove principal Dwight Pratt, who was reassigned to serve as the coordinator of high school operations at Amador Valley High School during the June 22 board meeting as well.
But as the district gets set to welcome new folks to new schools and communities, it will also be saying goodbye to one familiar administrator -- Michael Williams.
The Dublin Unified School District Board of Trustees appointed Williams, the former Amador principal before moving to the PUSD district office, as the new DUSD director of human resources on May 23.
Williams will be replacing former director of human resources Ann Kim who is "moving on to new opportunities", according to Chip Dehnert, DUSD public information and community relations officer.
"We are extremely grateful for Mr. Williams' service over the last five plus years at the district and school site level," Gannon said. "He will be missed and we wish him all the best in his new role."
Williams, who has been working as the senior director of human resources at PUSD and served as the principal at Amador from 2016 to 2018, is leaving Pleasanton next week after having been at the district since 2014.
"We are excited to have someone with Michael's experience and familiarity with public education in the Tri-Valley join the Dublin Unified team," Dehnert said.
Williams could not be reached for comment by time of publication.
A 17-year veteran in the educational field, Williams has worked in various fields. Before coming to Pleasanton, he served as vice principal of a middle school in Half Moon Bay, after having taught physical education at schools in the Peninsula for many years.
Williams worked as the vice principal at Amador before being promoted to principal and then moving up to take on the director of human resources role at PUSD in 2018 where he developed training for new administrators, helped grow the pathways for classified employees and led programs designed to help teachers move into leadership roles within their schools, according to a post from DUSD.
Williams has a master's degree in educational leadership and administration from San Francisco State University and a bachelor's in physical education, teaching and coaching from California State University, Chico.