Gardner Bullis School has a new principal—and they didn't have to look far.
Courtney Cadwell, who is serving as the district's instructional coach for science, technology and mathematics, was approved by the Los Altos Board of Education on Monday night. She was chosen from among a large field of candidates and impressed the interviewing team, wrote schools superintendent Jeff Baier in a letter to parents that night.
Cadwell is best known for her "key role in the innovative work LASD is conducting with Khan Academy" while at Egan Jr. High School, and just this year had been chosen to work as an instructional coach. She also sits on the education advisory panels of both the Gates Foundation and the Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation which is affiliated with the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.
"The wealth of instruction and leadership knowledge, experience and expertise Courtney will bring to Gardner Bullis is truly exciting," wrote LASD schools superintendent Jeff Baier.
"She will bring a wealth of knowledge and skill to both Gardner Bullis Elementary and to the leadership of the Los Altos School District."
Parents reacted with excitement Tuesday.
"A principal who can inspire the teachers and students to take advantage of this technology is very exciting to our community," said Heather Rose, a parent of a first grade student at Gardner Bullis School.
Rose said the campus was abuzz Tuesday and were praising Baier, who was on campus at morning drop-off time.
"Principal Cadwell's STEM (Science, Technology and Math) expertise with LASD matches well to our school's key PTA initiative," Rose said.
The PTA has been raising funds for the last four years to place computers in each classroom "from kinders to sixth grade as well as for the computer lab, teachers and staff," Rose said. The school now has computer carts in every classroom this year.
She said she overheard one parent say, "I wish my children were younger so they could be at this school longer."
Cadwell fills the principal's slot left open when Erica Gilbert accepted a job as principal in Belmont Shores School District in San Mateo County, shortly before Labor Day.
"I come to you with a heart for children, a strong commitment to education, and a desire to seek out creative ways to meet the needs of young learners," Cadwell wrote in a letter to Gardner Bullis parents immediately following the superintendent's letter.
"It is an honor to join Gardner Bullis Elementary School as principal."
Cadwell will meet the students and staff on Tuesday, and will meet with parents for the first time on Wednesday morning at 8:45 in the Gardner Bullis multi-purpose room, Baier said.
"Principal Cadwell's STEM (Science, Technology and Math) expertise with LASD matches well to our school's key PTA initiative. For the last four years, PTA has been raising funds to place computers in each classroom from kinders to sixth grade as well as for the computer lab, teachers and staff. This school year, we have computer carts in each classroom. A principal who can inspire the teachers and students to take advantage of this technology is very exciting to our community." remarked Heather Rose, a parent of a first grade student at Gardner Bullis School.