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SSD appoints Dr. Michael Gallagher as new superintendent

SUNNYVALE, CA — April 10, 2020 — Sunnyvale School District has appointed Dr. Michael Gallagher, a longtime educator, and administrator within the District, as its new superintendent. The Board of Education made the announcement Thursday night at a special board meeting. Gallagher will begin his new assignment as superintendent July 1 subject to the agreement and ratification of a contract of employment. The Board expects ratification of the contract to occur at its regular meeting on May 7, 2020.

Gallagher has been committed to equity through service in the public schools of Santa Clara County for more than 30 years as a high school English teacher, counselor, and associate principal, as a middle school principal, and as a district-level leader.  He came to Sunnyvale in May of 2009 as Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources.

In his current position as Deputy Superintendent, Gallagher leads the District’s human resources and information systems departments and has been a district leader in its efforts to understand the social-emotional dimensions of teaching and learning and culturally responsive teaching practices.  He has created innovative employee support systems including on-campus resilience consultants and support groups focused on building teacher resilience. He is a widely recognized expert in the areas of social-emotional learning and interest-based bargaining.

Gallagher earned a Doctor of Education degree from San Francisco State University, focusing on describing and supporting effective teachers in high poverty schools.   He earned master’s degrees in Counseling Education and Educational Administration and a bachelor’s degree in English, all from Santa Clara University.  

He also serves as Board President of Sunnyvale Community Services and is President-Elect of Sunnyvale Rotary. He is a board member for the Center for Reaching and Teaching the Whole Child and for the Santa Clara County Schools Insurance Group.  He is an adjunct faculty member for San José State University’s Educational Doctorate program and for Santa Clara University’s Master of Arts in Educational Administration program.  

“I am deeply appreciative to be able to work with the students, staff, parents, and community of Sunnyvale School District, and I cannot adequately express the honor I feel in being chosen to lead our community, especially now, in these very challenging times.  I am proud of our District’s many successes, and I am confident that together we can become a model district by providing equity of opportunity and outcomes for all of our students.”

Michelle Maginot, Board of Education president, expressed the Board’s unanimous support. 

“We are fortunate to have such an experienced and successful candidate within our District,” said Michelle Maginot, board president. “We are excited to continue the great work already happening and are confident that he will bring added value while building upon the strengths and knowledge of our administrators, teachers, staff, and community partners.” 

“I am extremely pleased that Dr. Michael Gallagher has been selected as my successor as Superintendent of Schools,” said SSD Superintendent Benjamin Picard. “He is known and engaged in our community. He knows, understands, and has greatly contributed to our school district's positive culture and initiatives. We look forward to working closely together to make it a seamless transition.”

Gallagher will be officially sworn in on July 1. 

As part of its selection process, the Board of Education used information gathered from three community forums, an online survey that garnered more than 500 responses, and 33 input sessions with stakeholders, which included staff, families, students, and community partners.  

The Board set a target date of July 1 for having a new superintendent in place. Benjamin H. Picard, the District’s superintendent since 2009, will retire June 30. 

The District will schedule opportunities for staff, parents/guardians, and community partners to welcome Gallagher to his new role as the new school year begins. 

Gallagher and his husband, Jason Chan, are both life-long residents of the South Bay, are avid San José Earthquakes fans, and are deeply committed to empowering the area’s youth.