Palo Alto native and veteran teacher Bill Overton was named principal of Palo Alto’s Ohlone Elementary School in 2009. Overton has focused his efforts on making schooldays more meaningful for the students of Ohlone Elementary, a choice program of Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD).
He believes in a supplementary “life skills curriculum” that includes walking in people’s shoes–literally.
Overton traveled to Kenya twice with international nonprofit Free the Children, which works to increase children’s access to education. Moving from “homogeneous” Palo Alto to rural Kenya, Overton “was expecting to see the poster child” of the starving child. Instead, he found: “People are happy, and they have values we could learn from.” Ohlone Elementary operates a chapter of Free the Children among other service programs.
Overton is also pursuing a doctorate in Social Justice and Social Change at Fielding Graduate University. He hopes to incorporate some of his research findings into programming that benefits every kind of Ohlone Elementary student.