Community Leaders Gather for Update on Schools


Left to right:  Mary Lou Righellis, Anne-Marie Lamarche, Cathie Geddeis, Superintendent Randy Booker, H1 Co-Chair Chad Olcott, hostess Sue Smegal, June Monach, Lucia Horner, Andrea Swenson, Ann Trutner, Helen Breck, Susan Terrill, Christine Wente von Metzsch and Sue Malick

Current, Former City Council, School Board, and PEF Board Members Hear Updates on Piedmont Schools

Wednesday and Thursday of last week, old guard and new gathered at the homes of former School Board and PEF board member and president, Sue Smegal and current School Board president Andrea Swenson to hear the latest headlines from the schools and the Piedmont Education Foundation (PEF).

Decades of Leadership Recognized and Thanked

PEF President Christine Wente von Metzsch, new PEF Executive Director Susan Terrill, PUSD Superintendent Randall Booker, and Measure H1 Campaign Co-Chair Chad Olcott addressed more than thirty current and former Piedmont community leaders over the course of the two meetings.  Wente von Metzsch welcomed the group,  thanking them for their hard work in making the Piedmont schools so extraordinary.  “It really is because of you that PEF can donate $2.474 million to fund 25 additional full-time equivalent positions, or 952 additional hours per week of teaching, aide and specialist time.  You have all set the standard for dedication, innovation, collaboration — and generosity,” said Wente von Metzsch.

Student Success and the Importance of Strategic Planning

Superintendent Booker  shared his excitement about the news of the recent state assessments, placing Piedmont at the top of the charts for English Language Arts and Math.  “This didn’t happen randomly,” Booker told the group.   “We are able to achieve this — thanks to the collaboration of our community and organizations like PEF who have supported all the infrastructure, advance planning and professional development that was necessary to help us adapt and implement a new curriculum.”  It was years in the making, he added. “And we have a board of education that has a track record of stewardship that enables us to be strategic, innovative, progressive and to achieve at high levels.”

Test Scores Stellar but Facilities Lag Behind Peer Schools

Booker noted that, however stellar student performance is these days, the facilities infrastructure lags well behind:  “We don’t have adequate facilities at the middle and high school levels that truly provide students and teachers with the learning environment and equipment to excel in the delivery of an outstanding 21st century education.”   Measure H1 Campaign Co-Chair Chad Olcott  highlighted the need for a major investment in our campuses.  “Every other school we compare ourselves to — Accalanes, Campolindo, Miramonte, Palo Alto, Head Royce — they are all light years ahead of us.  It’s a disgrace and it’s time for us to do something about it.”  Olcott thanked the assembled group for helping to lay the foundation that makes Piedmont schools great, adding, “We can remain strong by voting ‘YES on H1’ on November 8.”  (The PEF Board of Directors voted unanimously to endorse Measure H1.)

Continued Support Needed to Keep Schools Strong

New PEF board member Mary Lou Righellis was enthusiastic about the discussion:  “I’d been part of the Piedmont schools for years as a staff member, parent and Parent Club president, but years ago.  Now to be involved with the Foundation as a community member is very exciting.  I’ve worked with Superintendent Booker on the Grants Committee for the past year, and I’m impressed.  He and his administration have done their homework.”  Former Piedmont Mayor Valerie Matzger added “I’m proud of our community and its long history of commitment to our schools.  We need to keep up the good work so they’re strong for the generations to come!”

Not pictured:  Claire Arno, Michael Bruck, Chuck Chakravartula, John Chiang, Lance Fong, Barbara Guiffre, Grier Graff, Brad Hebert, Susan Hill, Doug Ireland, Jonathan Levine, Ward Lindenmeyer, Craig Lundin, Valerie Matzger, Bob McBain, Rick Raushenbush, Cory Smegal, Amal Smith

Photo credit:  Mary Ireland