Second principal of TIDE Academy leaves before new school opens | August 7, 2019 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Schools - August 7, 2019

Second principal of TIDE Academy leaves before new school opens

Vice principal, two teachers also no longer with school

by Angela Swartz

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 of about 108 students and eventually grow to about 450 students once grades nine through 12 are in place, Silvestri said. 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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