Kristen Gracia, Principal of Oak Knoll Elementary School
Kristen was the first college graduate in her family. She began her four year degree at Skyline Community College and finished it at Sonoma State University. Kristen was a scholar-athlete at both schools and recently was inducted into the Skyline College Hall of Fame! Shortly after receiving her BA in Liberal Studies she acquired her teacher credential and began teaching right away in MPCSD. She then simultaneously completed graduate work at Notre Dame de Namur University and received two Masters degrees: the first in Curriculum and Instruction and the second in School Administration. Given how much she loved teaching, Kristen was hesitant about the transition from teacher to school administration. Little did she know that she would end up being more than pleasantly surprised by the joys and challenges of being a school principal.
The Oak Knoll staff, with Kristen's leadership, continue to prioritize and be intentional about teaching students three foundational values, and what they believe, is a recipe for success: mindset, compassion and service. Kristen has been an educator since 2000, and has evidence as a classroom teacher and a school principal of the benefits and connection between social-emotional learning and academic success. Oak Knoll's mission is: Every student an exemplary scholar, a valued friend and a courageous citizen. Kristen believes developing exemplary scholars may be impossible without teaching and learning about mindset and compassion. At Oak Knoll, she ensures that the students, teachers and parents have a clear understanding of the school vision and the goals. She then provides the necessary support, urgency, motivation, resources, and space to innovate and deliver on the Oak Knoll mission. This leadership approach results in a skilled and connected staff, as well as an involved school community who together are committed to success for ALL students. Kristen is a member of the Menlo Park community and although she loves Oak Knoll, most of all she enjoys spending time with her husband, kids and family.