Danielle O'Brien slated to be Hillview Middle School's permanent principal | March 10, 2023 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - March 10, 2023

Danielle O'Brien slated to be Hillview Middle School's permanent principal

O'Brien has served as the interim principal since August

by Angela Swartz

Menlo Park City School District Superintendent Kristen Gracia plans to recommend Danielle O'Brien as the permanent principal of Hillview Middle School in Menlo Park.

The school board will vote on O'Brien's appointment on Thursday, March 9, after The Almanac's Wednesday afternoon press deadline. She has led the school on an interim basis since last August.

"She has proven to be a smart, compassionate, effective, and highly engaging leader," according to a March 2 district press release. "Her unparalleled love for Hillview and her commitment to making it a place where all students, staff, and families feel valued, connected, and inspired comes through in everything she does."

MPCSD conducted a rigorous search process last year but did not find a viable candidate, according to the press release.

O'Brien came to Hillview in 2011 as a humanities teacher after serving as a teacher and activities director in Humboldt County. She was promoted to assistant principal in 2014.

In 2018, O'Brien was promoted to associate principal. In that role, she supervised curriculum, instruction, technology, and assessment and led the 1:1 iPad program, which provides the device to each student for academic use. She also led Hillview's transition to evidence-based grading as well as its COVID-19 pandemic response.

"This year, Hillview has blossomed under Ms. O'Brien's capable leadership," according to the press release. "Her gifts for listening, taking and acting on feedback, and fostering collaborative and respectful relationships have helped Hillview grow in generative ways that are making a noticeable positive difference in the campus culture and MPCSD community. Her knowledge of Hillview's unique character, needs, and community, along with her expertise in middle school education, make her the district's stand-out choice to officially take these leadership reins."

The hiring process this year confirmed that O'Brien is not only the most qualified candidate, but also the only right choice for Hillview, according to the district.

Email Staff Writer Angela Swartz at [email protected]


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