May 7, 2018
May 7, 2018

                                                    President, Board of Education
                                                    Palo Alto Unified School District

PAUSD Chooses Dr. Donald Austin As Top Finalist For Superintendent

The Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) Board of Education is delighted to announce that Dr. Donald Austin (Don) will join the District as Superintendent on July 1, 2018, subject to the Board’s approval of a contract with Dr. Austin. The contract will be considered for approval at the Board’s regular meeting of May 22, 2018.

Dr. Austin comes to PAUSD from Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District (PVPUSD) where he has been Superintendent since August 2014. Under his leadership, PVPUSD successfully adopted new math curriculum and textbooks, created online options for students, implemented a robust professional development program, and rolled out a comprehensive Facilities Master Plan, while earning California School Boards Association recognition for strategic planning, a Golden Bell award, recognition for multiple Gold Ribbon schools, and top rankings in the state and nation.

Prior to his role as Superintendent in PVPUSD, Dr. Austin was the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services for the Huntington Beach Union High School District. In this role, Dr. Austin is credited with spearheading the implementation of Common Core State Standards and increasing student admission to state universities. Before moving to the role of Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, Dr. Austin was principal of Laguna Beach High School in Laguna Beach, California and La Sierra High School in Riverside, California.

A California native and the first member of his family to attend college, Dr. Austin grew up south of San Diego in Chula Vista. He holds an Master of Arts (M.A.) and Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) from Azusa Pacific University and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas.

Dr. Austin brings enthusiasm, a spirit of teamwork, and a commitment to youth. The Board is impressed by his experience, reputation for strong implementation skills, focus on mentorship, and history of building a collective sense of purpose.

Said Dr. Austin, “I have followed Palo Alto USD since my time as the principal of Laguna Beach High School and am thrilled to join the PAUSD team. I look forward to working together to do great things that support and empower all of our students.“
The Board wishes to thank all of the candidates who expressed interest in the position, and appreciates the input of staff and community advisory groups who interviewed candidates, as well as many students, staff members, parents, and community members who provided their input via surveys and focus groups.
The Board is particularly grateful to Interim Superintendent Karen Hendricks, who ably guided the District this year. Ms. Hendricks chose not to be considered for the position of Superintendent, and looks forward to continuing to serve PAUSD. 

The Board thanks Ms. Hendricks for her work and commitment to our District, and for bringing crucial stability and support to PAUSD this school year.