Woodside school district superintendent announces move to Las Lomitas | May 1, 2019 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

Almanac

Schools - May 1, 2019

Woodside school district superintendent announces move to Las Lomitas

Beth Polito is top pick to head school district in west Menlo Park and Atherton

by Angela Swartz

Woodside Elementary School District Superintendent Beth Polito is leaving her post at the end of the school year to head the nearby Las Lomitas School District, pending a school board vote, according to a April 25 Las Lomitas district press release.

Polito, who joined the Woodside district as its superintendent in 2011, will stay on until July 1, she said in an email to district families April 25. She is poised to replace Superintendent Lisa Cesario, who announced her retirement in February.

The Las Lomitas district plans to vote on Polito's appointment in an open session school board meeting at 7 p.m. on May 8 in the La Entrada Middle School multi-use room, 2200 Sharon Road in Menlo Park, according to the district's press release.

"After a nationwide search, as a board, we were very happy with the candidate pool and all the candidates we met and interviewed," said board President John Earnhardt in a prepared statement. "The strength and experience of the applicants really reflects the high achievement and high expectations of our entire school community. We are extremely pleased to attract someone of Dr. Polito's caliber. Her experience as a sitting superintendent, as well as her background as a teacher and school site and district administrator, all in the Bay Area, make her uniquely qualified to lead our district."

Polito said in an email that the Woodside district is "filled with fabulous children, dedicated staff members and committed parents and families."

Polito is the third local school district superintendent to recently announce a resignation. In addition to Cesario, Portola Valley School District Superintendent Eric Hartwig announced his resignation in November.

Polito, who holds a doctorate degree in education from the University of San Francisco, served as assistant superintendent of the Saratoga Union School District for four years before coming to the Woodside district. Prior to that, she was a teacher, dean of students, vice principal, and principal at Redwood Middle School in Saratoga for 14 years.

Woodside school district officials say Polito will be missed.

"Over the past eight years as Superintendent for Woodside School, Dr. Polito has focused on making our school a place where every child can learn and thrive," wrote Woodside board president Silvia Edwards in an April 25 email to The Almanac. "Beth accomplished much during her tenure: She oversaw the implementation of the Common Core standards; She helped the district successfully pass a bond measure which resulted in the building and renovation of school facilities; Finally, she worked to build a robust SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) and Design Thinking program."

The school board reviewed a superintendent search proposal during a public meeting on April 26 and decided to push the process back until its May 7 meeting, Edwards said after the meeting. Board members expressed interest in possibly hiring an interim superintendent instead of doing a full-fledged search for a replacement, given the quick turnaround, she said.

At the meeting, the board opted not to hire the search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA) to help fill Polito's job, Edwards said. The firm has been working with the Portola Valley School District to find a new superintendent, and was involved in the Las Lomitas district superintendent search.

At the May 7 meeting, the board will consider whether it will appoint an interim superintendent, hire HYA or interview other search firms, Edwards said. The meeting will take place at 3:30 p.m. in the Wildcats room at Woodside School, 3195 Woodside Road in Woodside.

The school board will also host a community forum to solicit input on the superintendent search from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 2, in the Wildcats room.

The district hopes to fill the role by the end of the school year, which is June 7, Polito said.

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