PAUSD Special Ed Reorganization

PAUSD Special Ed Reorganization

March 27, 2019

Important News from the 3/26/19 Board Meeting regarding reorganization of Special Ed


The Superintendent of schools informed the public on Tuesday night of a reorganization for Special Education. Elementary Special Education Director (Alma Ellis) will report to Elementary Chief Academic Officer (Anne Brown, Assistant Superintendent). A Secondary Special Education Director will be hired to report to Secondary Chief Academic Officer (Sharon Ofek, Assistant Superintendent). The Assistant Superintendent of Strategic Initiatives and Operations (Lana Conaway) will retain all previous responsibilities except Special Education.


The reorganization was proposed as a key strategy in The PAUSD Promise under District Office Operations (Human Resources-attract, develop, and retain best-in-class talent; reorganize and align senior and middle management). Special Education/Inclusion and High Quality Teaching & Learning had been discussed at the prior Board meeting on March 12th.


On a rationale for the change, Superintendent Austin said:

  • [PAUSD] as a whole has great people…who are working hard and are committed…we need structures and systems in place so the outcomes can match the effort
  • The Least Restrictive Environment is General Ed, and then from that you provide services and appropriately placed students
  • Our system, not the people, created division lines between Gen Ed and Special Education including things…like professional development, dyslexia, inclusion models, behavioral issues
  • Our system made it very challenging to have a seamless interaction between the General Ed and Special Education wings of our district

Palo Alto CAC leadership is digesting the announcement to understand the new structure and how it affects students with IEPS and 504s. We remain committed to helping to meet the needs of all students with disabilities in PAUSD. Development of “The Promise” is still in process, you can send in comments and questions to and the Superintendent