New principals for Crittenden, Stevenson schools


Two new principals are set to start at Mountain View schools. Geoff Chang will head Crittenden Middle School and Tyler Graff will lead Stevenson PACT, said Mountain View Whisman School District officials on Friday.

The positions Chang and Graff are filling are opening up as two central administration officials -- Stephanie Totter and Mary Lairon -- are retiring, and several principals within the district are being shifted around to take over their work.

"We're excited about the new perspectives that Graff and Chang will bring to our district, both as a result of their leadership training programs as well as their leadership experiences," Superintendent Craig Goldman said, noting that all of the district's central administration and principals are composed of a healthy mix between internal and external hires.

"We like the idea of a good balance," he said. "Promoting people from within ensures we choose candidates who understand our district's culture, while choosing people from outside brings new perspectives and new ideas to the table."

Chang is currently the assistant principal of Lower Manhattan Community Middle School in New York City. A graduate of Princeton University, he earned master's degrees in special education and secondary social studies from Queens College and in educational leadership from Columbia University. He has taught social studies and English in New York City Schools, spent a summer teaching English in China, and served as a selection manager for the New York City Teaching Fellows Program, district officials said in a press release March 16. 

Graff is currently a resident principal intern at William E. Russell Elementary School in Boston, Massachusetts. He earned his bachelor's degree and multiple subjects teaching credential from California State University, Chico. In May, he will complete his master's degree in school leadership at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Graff previously taught elementary grades in the Cambrian School District in San Jose, and his experiences include a summer as a foreign exchange teacher in Nanjing China, according to the district.

Karen Robinson, the current principal of Crittenden will be taking over for Stephanie Totter, assuming the position of superintendent of administrative services.

Cathy Baur, current principal of Monta Loma, will be taking over many of Lairon's former duties as the new director of curriculum, instruction and assessment.

Angela Lyon, current principal of Stevenson, will move in to Baur's role at Monta Loma.

According to Goldman, the district conducted "a broad interview of both internal and outside candidates" before deciding on Chang and Graff. The district advertised nationally for candidates.

Each school within the district assembled a team responsible for interviewing 10 applicants and narrowing that group down to three, Goldman said. An administrative board, which included Goldman, interviewed the top three from each school before making final recommendations to the district board.

Although they each have East Coast credentials, both men are from the Bay Area and say they are looking forward to returning home, district officials said.


Like this comment
Posted by Ned
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 16, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Great. Two principals with experience in China who perhaps know a little Chinese. How does this help the nearly 50% Hispanic population in this district? They'll stick around for a few years and be off to Palo Alto or Los Altos with the pedigrees they've got.

Like this comment
Posted by Tim
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 16, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Ned: China has the world's fastest growing economy for a major country.

As of 2012, China has the world's second-largest GDP, Mexico ranks 13th.

In 2009, Chinese students from Shanghai achieved the world's best results in mathematics, science and literacy, as tested by P.I.S.A. Mexico students ranked substandard.

China has produced 9 Nobel Prize winners, Mexico 3.

Over one billion people speak Mandarin Chinese, only 300 million speak Spanish.

That is how this decision will help our students. Follow a leader, not a loser.

Like this comment
Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 16, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Sounds like two appointees with solid credentials and experience. Best of luck to students, staff, and the new principals!

Ned, are you seriously suggesting we should disqualify any candidate who has taught in China for a summer?

Like this comment
Posted by Ned - Really?
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 16, 2012 at 4:50 pm

"Lower Manhattan Community Middle School" is a school with 46% Hispanic population in a state with an avg of 21%.

"William E. Russell Elementary School" is a school with 55% Hispanic population in a state with an avg of 14%.

Guess you are wrong in all counts. [Portion removed. Please don't attack other posters.]

Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 16, 2012 at 5:47 pm

And a long time teacher in the district just passed away and not a word... from the paper... and two measly sentences from the district.

Like this comment
Posted by Ms. Doyle
a resident of The Crossings
on Mar 16, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Let's see what the Pact has planned for this principal. Pact's always about getting what they want right parents.

Like this comment
Posted by Ned
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 16, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Tim, you've twisted what I said, assumed a lot, and taken it out of context. BTW, when do you leave for China?
Martin, read what I wrote before asking such a question.

Like this comment
Posted by PACT Mom
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 16, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Ah, Ms. Doyle, there's our resident PACT hater. How is this getting what we want? The previous principal was well loved and we are sad to see her go. I can't even say it's interesting to read your comments because well, they aren't.

Good luck to Mr. Graff, impressive credentials!

Like this comment
Posted by Pat C.
a resident of Jackson Park
on Mar 16, 2012 at 8:03 pm

okay I'm curious why did the previous principal leave? In the existence of the program how my principle have there been?

Like this comment
Posted by PACT Mom
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 17, 2012 at 1:13 am

She's transferring to Monta Loma, where she previously taugh for something like 15 years. She'll be the principal there.

Like this comment
Posted by MVWSD employee
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 17, 2012 at 7:24 pm

I am disappointed the district did not hire from within. Many teachers go through a Leadership program with the intent of becoming a principal. It certainly has worked well at Graham where the principal turnover over the past few years was detrimental to the school's success. Maybe no one in the distict was interested.

Like this comment
Posted by Interested Observer
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2012 at 1:23 am

Hmmm, MWVSD employee - Cathy Baur, current principal at Monta Loma, graduated from the District's Leadership program as did Kim Thompson, current principal at Graham Middle School. Angela Lyon may have attended that program, too, but I am not positive about that. Cathy Baur has now been promoted to the Asst Supt position. That's a lot of positions having been filled from within the district. I am glad to see that the District has now gone outside the district because, I would assume, the district wants the best fit for each school.

Like this comment
Posted by Interested Observer II
a resident of Jackson Park
on Mar 18, 2012 at 6:55 am

District appointments are based on favoritism and little more. Things may change when the Asst. Supes Totter and Lairon retire (with trumped up pensions most likely), but I doubt it. I do think internal hires do much better and show more commitment. The record has shown that they stick around much longer. Princeton and Harvard graduates won't be happy here for long, but at least they won't have to work under the former Asst. Supes.

Like this comment
Posted by Student Teacher-Mom
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 19, 2012 at 6:20 am

And no word on why Karen Robinson- the long time principal and former teacher at Crittenden is leaving?

Like this comment
Posted by Elle
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 19, 2012 at 7:00 am

Karen Robinson has been anointed to become Assistant Superintendent to replace her old Whisman friend Totter. Just like Goldman was anointed by Ghysels. Bauer replaces her buddy Lairon. It's all about control at the top among a tight circle. Yet the new hires have the more prestigious credentials. That's how it works in Mountain View.

Like this comment
Posted by Landels Mom
a resident of Castro City
on Apr 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Too bad we can't get a Ivy League grad to take over at Landels.

BTW, how did Carmen Mizell get appointed to be the principal of Landels? Oh that's right, she was the ex-Superintendent's mistress.

Another reason to not argue for internal appointees.

Like this comment
Posted by Irked
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 21, 2013 at 11:47 am

Why are local principles being replaced by East Coasters? Two from New York, and one from Massachusetts, all in the space of a year?

Seriously, Craig Goldman can't find local candidates? I know for a fact that a local, qualified, enthusiastic and capable candidate from Huff was passed over for the current choice, from New York. I thought this was odd when I only knew about the Huff choice, but now I see there's a pattern.

Why can't we keep it local? What's going on here?

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of North Whisman

on Jun 5, 2017 at 9:23 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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