Second principal of TIDE Academy leaves before new school opens

Vice principal, two teachers also no longer with school

TIDE Academy, a new magnet high school in Menlo Park set to open Aug. 14, is still working to fill staff positions after several people left, including the principal and vice principal.

In June, Allison Silvestri took over as principal of TIDE Academy, which is located on a 2-acre site at 150 Jefferson Drive, Sequoia Union High School District spokesperson Ana Maria Pulido said Aug. 1. Silvestri replaced Shamar Edwards, who had been principal since July 2018.

Edwards, who also served as the district's executive director of small-school innovation and alternative programs, confirmed in a July 31 email that she is no longer working for the school or the district. Pulido said that Edwards resigned from the district, but the plan was always to hire someone else as principal once the school launched. The district and Edwards had referred to her as "principal," not as an interim principal in communications with The Almanac.

"It was always part of the plan -- she (Edwards) was in the acting principal role until we were going to bring on a full-time principal," Pulido said. "She did a lot of amazing work on the launch. We wish her the best."

She did not know the exact day of Edwards' resignation, but said it was recent. The district decided to bring Silvestri on as "day-to-day" principal in the spring, Pulido said. She added that she's not sure if the district will fill the executive director of small-school innovation and alternative programs position in the near future.

Edwards has since taken a job as principal of Sunnyvale Middle School, according to an Aug. 1 Sunnyvale School District letter to parents.

TIDE Vice Principal Mike Kuliga, who served as the school's first principal beginning in July 2017, is also no longer listed on the school's website as an employee. Pulido confirmed Kuliga is no longer in the vice principal role but did not say why he left or whether he is still working for the district. Kuliga did not respond to a request for comment.

David Lai, founding computer science teacher, and Steven Wong, founding mathematics teacher and athletic director, are also no longer listed on the website's staff bios page. Pulido said she didn't know why they left or if they remain in the district. The school's website now lists Porchia Jenkins as a physical education teacher, Jim Karditzas as a mathematics teacher and Julia Leeson as an algebra teacher.

The new school will begin with a freshman class and eventually grow to 400 students once grades nine through 12 are in place. The school's name is an acronym for technology, innovation, design and engineering -- a nod to its mission of preparing students for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) careers. The name also derives from the school's proximity to the Bay.

TIDE's curriculum will include classes in engineering, computer science, and design, and there will be a focus on project-based learning, according to the school's website.

Silvestri, who is originally from San Mateo, most recently served as the principal of San Lorenzo High School beginning in 2016, according to TIDE's website. Before that, she was principal of Acalanes High School and Half Moon Bay High School. Before becoming an administrator she was a resource specialist at San Mateo High School and an English and social science teacher in Woodside High School's special day class program.

Silvestri has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master's degree in the field of mild/moderate special needs from Boston College. She also has a master's degree in public administration from Notre Dame de Namur University and a doctorate in educational leadership for social justice and equity from California State University, East Bay.


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1 person likes this
Posted by editoratlarge
a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2019 at 12:16 pm

editoratlarge is a registered user.

They tried to copy Design Tech High School and failed. I feel sorry for the kids and parents.

Like this comment
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Aug 2, 2019 at 1:51 pm

What a disaster. I hope the school can eventually recover, as we can always benefit from new options.

Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Aug 2, 2019 at 4:13 pm

There were 7 on the team when I first saw their presentation in October. An English teacher left too. So that means only 2 remain that had the year to plan. Rumor has it that the superintendent pulled away many resources in the final hours of the year. What a tragedy. I pulled my daughter back to M-A.

2 people like this
Posted by Charlene Margot
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Aug 2, 2019 at 5:24 pm

Charlene Margot is a registered user.

Very sorry to hear that Dr. Shamar Edwards has left TIDE Academy and SUHSD. She was a highly intelligent, charismatic, and talented school leader.

Like this comment
Posted by The voice
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 2, 2019 at 9:16 pm

The school is in the wrong place. There is too much traffic. No parking, no bus parking, nothing but businesses. What athletics? The lot is very small. Mark my words this will be a mess. That building is nowhere near done. And if it does get done it will be a miracle.

Like this comment
Posted by Concern Community Member
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 6, 2019 at 5:24 pm

This article speaks of the poor leadership and agonizing times SUHSD staff and community is encountering. The Board should have not hired a green superintendent. She clearly doesn't have a vision. Our inside and outside community deserves better. Michael Kuliga was demoted and all the founding staff left because its a mess. And, Ana Pulido is a useless tool in Streshly’s shed. If they want to speak to the media, they should tell the truth not a bunch of lies. We cant continue to deceive our community.

1 person likes this
Posted by Angela Swartz, Almanac Staff Writer
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2019 at 12:08 pm

Angela Swartz, Almanac Staff Writer is a registered user.

Hi there -- Parents, feel free to reach out to me at if you have any insights on the turnover you'd like to share with me.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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