Piraino hired to head Portola Valley schools | June 27, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |



Schools - June 27, 2012

Piraino hired to head Portola Valley schools

by Renee Batti

Carol Piraino, who has scrambled over the last five months to keep the district functional during the crisis resulting from the alleged financial misdeeds of the former superintendent, has been named Portola Valley School District's permanent superintendent.

The school board on June 20 unanimously approved a two-year contract for Ms. Piraino, who had been serving as assistant superintendent under Tim Hanretty.

Mr. Hanretty resigned in late January, and Ms. Piraino was appointed acting superintendent at that time.

Since his resignation, Mr. Hanretty has been arrested on six felony counts of embezzlement from the district, and will face charges of stealing nearly $101,000 of district funds to renovate his home.

Although some parents have questioned why the district hired a new superintendent without conducting a formal search, board President Scott Parker noted that Ms. Piraino had gone through a thorough and competitive process in 2010 before being hired as assistant superintendent.

Given all she's had to manage since February, "working 80 or 100 hours a week," he added, "we didn't find it appropriate or even necessary to do a full search" for a superintendent.

During the last five months, Ms. Piraino "has been vetted, tested, (and has shown that) she is a phenomenal leader," he said.

"We have zero question in our mind that we have the person we need," he said. "She's just completed a five-month intensive interview."

Ms. Piraino will be paid $185,000 annually, and be covered by medical, vision and dental insurance, according to her contract.

"I'm thrilled to have the confidence of the board, and I'm excited about the district's future," Ms. Piraino said last week.

Before her stint in the district office, where her role as assistant superintendent was to oversee the district's curriculum and educational program, Ms. Piraino was principal for two years of Corte Madera School, one of the district's two schools. She came to the district from Walter Hays Elementary School in Palo Alto, where she served as principal for nine years.

Earlier, she worked for the Ravenswood City School District, first as a teacher, then as assistant principal at Cesar Chavez Academy in East Palo Alto.


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