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Portola Valley School District names head of programs for special-needs students

Minoo Shah, who oversees the Special Education Department of the San Francisco Unified School District, will take over programs for students with special needs in the Portola Valley School District, according to Lisa Gonzales, superintendent of the Portola Valley district.

Ms. Shah will replace Julie Flynn as director of student services on July 1, the superintendent said in her announcement. Ms. Flynn is leaving the district to become a school psychologist, Ms. Gonzales said.

Ms. Shah, who holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Arizona, began her career in 1986 as a school psychologist at the Learners Academy School in Mumbai, India.

In 1998, she became a school psychologist in the San Francisco district, and subsequently has worked in that district in a number of positions, including supervisor of special education and most recently as director of special education services.

In the Portola Valley district, in addition to being responsible for programs for special-needs students, she will work in the areas of "Positive Behavior Intervention & Systems, Response to Intervention, social-emotional learning, and differentiation," Ms. Gonzales said in her announcement.

Besides her doctorate, Ms. Shah received a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in applied counseling/psychology from the University of Bombay, India; and a master's degree in educational psychology from the University of Southern Illinois, Carbondale.

In her announcement, Ms. Gonzales said Ms. Shah was "enthusiastically supported" by interview panels made up of teachers, staff, parents and administrators. "Seldom do we see such a great match of skill and expressed desires of the parent community and staff," Ms. Gonzales said.

Ms. Shah's base salary is $138,525, Ms. Gonzales said.

Asked about the move from a very large to a very small district, Ms. Gonzales said: "Minoo's true passion is working to support students and staff. In a smaller district, she can interact with them daily and implement support services that don't currently exist here in PVSD."

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