Current Gunn principal to take over at Paly

Current Gunn principal Scott Laurence has been hired to take over for interim principal Sandra Pearson at Paly. Laurence will take the post July 1.

Laurence is familiar with the Palo Alto School District after serving as assistant principal at Paly then becoming principal at Gunn in 2000. A history and economics major in college, Laurence earned his master’s in education from Stanford. He has a Professional Administrative Services Credential from San Jose State.

"I was a student teacher at Paly in 1980 and became a full time teacher in 1984," Laurence said. "I made a lot of friends and fond memories here."

Despite his ties at Paly, Laurence recognizes that his new position might be challenging. However, he believes that he is up to the task.

"I understand that being a principal is a difficult job and it is very different to being assistant principal. In my years at Gunn, however, I have learned that Gunn and Paly are a lot more similar than I originally thought."

Noreen Likins will take over the reigns at Gunn as assistant principal. A titan since 1998, Likins studied International politics and geography at University College of Wales in the United Kingdom and later got her master’s in Comparative History from UC Santa Cruz.

"Through our search, we know that talented people are often recruited by other districts," PAUSD Superintendent Mary Frances Callan said, explaining Laurence’s trade from Gunn to Paly. "We wanted to ensure that our own talented people were presented with growth opportunities right here in our District."

Once he takes over at Paly, Laurence will begin to address issues that have plagued both schools.

"We want to reduce the stress of doing a whole bunch of activities," Laurence said. "We also want to address students who aren’t engaged actively and we want to get to know all students and their needs."