Feature Photos

Palm named ORHS principal

By From page A1 | May 04, 2016

Aaron Palm will become Oak Ridge High School's permanent principal effective July 1. Village Life photo by Shelly Thorene

Aaron Palm has accepted the permanent principal job at Oak Ridge High School.

“It was a humbling experience to be interviewed by parent, teacher and student panels,” he said. “I’m humbled they gave me the opportunity to serve this community.”

The El Dorado Union High School Board of Trustees unanimously voted to hire Palm, who took over as interim principal in late February and will become the permanent principal effective July 1.

Palm, 41, praised the academic and program achievements at Oak Ridge. “We have top-notch programs,” he said. “And the caliber of academics? I could go on and on.

“On the flipside, it’s been a rough year,” Palm continued, calling the decision not to renew former principal Paul Burke’s contract mid-year “the elephant in the room.”

He said his top priority is to repair the school’s culture. “We are taking purposeful action, starting with being very good listeners and focused on the students’ needs,” he said.

On May 5 the Oak Ridge High School Community Foundation will host the Forward with the Foundation event from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the El Dorado Hills Community Services District pavilion. “Celebrate excellence at Oak Ridge,” it states on the flyer. “Connect with students, parents and staff. Continue the conversation. Meet the new principal, Aaron Palm.”

Palm said the conversation will be ongoing and pointed out that Oak Ridge staff and parents worked hard to renew the school’s six-year Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation even during a tumultuous school year. “The WASC process has you re-examining strengths and weaknesses,” Palm said. “We will continue to unite around pieces we could improve on and on pieces we do well.”

He grew up in San Carlos and attended Carlmont High School. Palm earned both a bachelor’s degree in U.S. history and a single subject teaching credential at San Jose State. He taught high school social sciences in San Jose; he also taught history to English language learners and in adult school. Palm later earned a master’s degree in educational leadership and an administrative credential.

Palm and his wife Christie moved to El Dorado Hills 10 years ago when he was hired as an assistant principal at Oak Ridge. They have one daughter, currently a kindergartener at Jackson Elementary.

Palm left Oak Ridge in 2013 to become El Dorado Union High School District’s Director of Educational Options and Innovations and to serve as head of school at the Virtual Academy at Shenandoah adjacent to Union Mine High School in El Dorado. He will hold that post until a replacement is found.

“This (school) district has given me opportunities to grow professionally,” Palm said. He is also involved with Technology Information Center for Administrative Leadership. TICAL’s mission is: “Helping K-12 administrators provide informed and effective leadership in the use of technology to improve education.”

Palm is secretary for Association of California School Administrators Region 2 and was recently honored as one of the ACSA Administrators of the Year for Region 2.

He said he looks forward to what the future may hold. “I didn’t know a soul when we first moved to El Dorado Hills,” Palm said. “But this school and the community have given me more than I could ever give them.”

Julie Samrick

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