PUSD Update

July 20, 2021

Message from Superintendent Brian McDonald

Dear PUSD Community,


As we prepare for students to return to in-person learning in the new school year, we are realigning the central office reporting structure to ensure greater consistency, coherence, and customer service for our schools, students, families, and employees.


With the social-emotional wellbeing of our students and staff as the guiding force, these changes position our district for a healthy start to the new school year.


Departments and services that have direct contact with students and their academic and social-emotional wellbeing will go to the Academics Division led by Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Elizabeth Blanco.

In addition to her expertise in PreK-12th grade academics and Special Education, Dr. Blanco has a wealth of experience in student support and family engagement. In 2009, Dr. Blanco designed and launched PUSD’s Response to Intervention (RtI), the multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. She later developed a model triage system with county mental health partners to support foster youth, launched the district’s multi-tiered system of support (MTSS), and was instrumental in working with LA County to open the wellness center at Pasadena High School. She was awarded a Golden Bell by the California School Board Association for opening a family engagement department that serves more than 400 parents of English Learners. Dr. Blanco has the capacity and skills to lead and support this coherent team designed to serve the whole child and their families.


Departments in the Academic Division are:

  • Early Childhood Education

  • TK-12 Instruction

  • Curriculum, Instruction & Professional Development (CIPD)

  • Language Assessment Development Department (LADD)

  • Arts Education & GATE

  • Student Wellness & Support Services

  • LEARNs

  • Enrollment, Permits & Records

  • Family Engagement

  • Special Projects State & Federal Programs

  • College & Career


To support this realignment, the following changes are being made:


Dr. Julianne Reynoso, Assistant Superintendent, will lead the Department of Student Wellness and Support Services (SWSS). Dr. Reynoso has served as Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services since 2015 and has worked in partnership to provide school principals and PUSD teachers with tools to implement best practices through the lens of being trauma-informed and responsive. One of her many passions is student wellness and trauma-informed care; in past years, she supervised the District’s Health Department and developed staff wellness programs with the director. Through grants and partnerships, Dr. Reynoso has hosted professional development, book studies, and workshops with leading educators such as Jim Sporleder, the USC Trauma Center, and Bennett Productions. As the instructional leader and evaluator of principals, she kept site leaders focused on equity, academic success, and student and staff health and welfare. Dr. Eric Sahakian, who previously led the Student Wellness & Support department, left PUSD earlier this month to become Superintendent of Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District.


Ms. Helen Hill, Assistant Superintendent, will continue to lead the district’s Curriculum, Instruction & Professional Development Department, and will now also lead College & Career, the LEARNS program, the district’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiative, and support of community schools. A 22-year veteran of PUSD, she has led curriculum and professional development at the district level since 2010, including building the capacity of instructional coaches to ensure implementation of PUSD’s instructional framework for standards-based and student-driven instruction. Ms. Hill has helped develop structures for alignment via specialized teams such as the Course Codes Committee, Dual Language Immersion Program Curriculum Team, and work in multi-tiered support systems in partnership with the Student Wellness and Support Team. To create consistency and alignment beyond the school day, she has worked closely with LEARNs and community partners to develop coherent programs designed to support learning in the classroom.


Dr. David Rennie, Interim Coordinator II for the Office of Special Projects and Categorical Programs will now also lead and support the Department of Family Engagement and the Family Resource Center. Dr. Rennie has a proven track record of working successfully with PUSD parents on the district councils and committees such as AAPC, DAC, DELAC, and LCAP PAC. Dr. Rennie has a keen sense of knowledge in data facilitation and data systems that parents and staff have appreciated. His ability to work with the community and staff has resulted in a comprehensive Extended Learning Opportunities Plan and a new Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). Dr. Rennie will continue to engage parents and site and central office leaders in support of the District’s continuous improvement efforts.


Dr. Trudell Skinner will serve as the Senior Director of TK-12 Schools, providing direct support to principals and supporting PUSD’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Dr. Skinner has served as the District’s Coordinator of Enrollment, Permits & Student Records since 2018. Previously, she was the PUSD’s Coordinator of Equity and Access and was responsible for the coordination of educational programs and services that identified, accelerated, and supported underserved students. Dr. Skinner was the Principal of Blair Middle and High School from 2010 to 2016. During her tenure, Blair, an International Baccalaureate School, was named a 2011 California Distinguished School. She has been a long-term mentor to educators who have entered the PUSD administrative ranks. Her experience as a successful site and central office leader in the district is an asset to our principal leadership team.


Ms. Shannon Mumolo will assume the duties of the Coordinator of the Office of Enrollment in addition to the grants she currently manages. As coordinator of PUSD’s successful magnet grants, Ms. Mumolo has worked closely with the Office of Enrollment to examine practices to increase diversity and academic performance on our campuses. Ms. Mumolo has been key in LCAP planning and the development of Signature Programs, co-led the Superintendent's Budget Advisory Committee and partnered with the Pasadena Educational Foundation to successfully secure a $14.5 million grant for the second round of funding through the federal Magnet Schools Assistance Program. Through the marketing of magnets, she has been integral in elevating the District’s reputation and promotion of its schools.


The District’s Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and I are committed to focusing on customer service, continuous improvement, and the provision of high-quality services to staff, schools, and the community.


With these changes in place, we are positioned for a successful new school year.


Sincerely,

Brian McDonald, Ed.D.

Superintendent