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June 16, 2004

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Publication Date: Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Ravenswood names superintendent Ravenswood names superintendent (June 16, 2004)

By Alexandria Rocha

When Erical La Dawn Law was principal of a "poor elementary (school) in Pasadena in the 1980s, she posted the highest test score of any Title 1 school in the district," said Floyd Gonella, interim superintendent of the Ravenswood City School District.

Now, he said, she hopes to achieve similar results at schools in the Ravenswood district, where the school board last week named her the new superintendent. The district enrolls about 4,500 students, from East Palo Alto and Menlo Park, in grades K-8.

A former assistant superintendent of both San Francisco Unified and Mountain View-Whisman school districts, Ms. Law, 59, will take over for Mr. Gonella on July 1. Her starting annual salary is $165,000, with a possible $20,000 increase at the end of her first year.

"I wanted to go to a district that has some challenges, and I've worked in urban districts before," said Ms. Law, who started her career as an elementary school teacher in East Los Angeles. "I believe all children can learn. The children in Ravenswood are just as capable as children anywhere else."

Ms. Law is currently program manager of Mill Valley's Stupski Foundation, where she works with school districts to improve student performance. She holds a doctorate in education from Claremont Graduate University.

The Ravenswood school board voted unanimously June 10 to hire her. "We have hired the very best from the pool of candidates," said board Clerk Chester Palesoo. "It was a long journey with a lot of tough decisions."

Alexandria Rocha is a staff writer for the Almanac's sister paper, the Palo Alto Weekly.

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