MPCSD superintendent Dr. Maurice Ghysels: “The kids are my customers”

by Linda Hubbard on September 13, 2011

The new superintendent of the Menlo Park City School District, Dr. Maurice Ghysels, is making the rounds of the four schools he serves. We caught up with him during an appearance at Oak Knoll last week where he mapped out his management style and discussed some initial thoughts on district goals this year. He’s scheduled to be at Hillview on Sept. 14 at 7:00 pm, Encinal on Sept. 15 at 8:30 am, and Laurel on Sept. 22 at 8:30 am.

Ghysels cited the challenges of the district’s increasing student population juxtaposed against flat revenues. “We are maxed out when it comes to economies of scale,” he said. “We are very optimized.”

“Plus, in my initial observation, I’ve found out that this is a school district that is managing things, not leading. The difference between districts that make it and don’t make it is based on local control. In Menlo Park, you’re going to expect a return on investment when you write that check [to the Menlo Park Atherton Education Foundation].”

Ghysels stressed that he believes in teamwork and collaboration, with a “strong focus on the kids — that’s my brand.” He is also a proponent of performance management, which includes one-on-one reviews and “moving to a more common language about who we are.” “I really embrace performance measures,” he said. “We have to have dashboards, classroom data centers. They’re absent currently.”

The superintendent described himself as a “systems thinker” and an adherent to the “science of organizational development” with “professional development tied to goals.”

“I believe in the word customer,” he continued. “We’re here to provide a student-centered experience for your children. The attitude of a service organization is near and dear to me. We are a service organization, and that’ going to be different for some folks.”

Ghysels outlined what parents can expect this year, including the following:

  • Implementing a district-wide measurement dashboard
  • Developing a strategic financial plan
  • Looking at best practices in instruction
  • Coming up with a common definition of what a neighborhood school is
  • Determining how to select the most talented instructors

“You’re going to see may different types of leadership,” he concluded. “You’ll hear a lot of talk about service and operational excellence. You’re going to see district staff on school campuses. The key to success is a transformation from management into leadership.”


Mr T W Marsh March 30, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Maurice Ghysels needs replacing after his comments at a meeting. Firing the Special Needs Director show his man only wants to save money, doesn’t care about the kids and in my words is totally lost at being a school superintendent!
Parents, teachers and anyone who has an interest in their schools, stand up to this guy and get him replaced before its too later for our children!

Rhoda Grumet February 24, 2014 at 11:24 pm

I am deeply concerned about the safety on Santa Cruz Avenue for the students walking and biking to and from Hillview Middle School. Santa Cruz Ave is a heavily trafficked road, many cars exceed the speed limit and at the same time these middle school students are commuting. No sidewalks exist on Santa Cruz Ave east of Hillview on the south side of the street. I fear for these young people and ask that discussion be centered on what can make this route safer. Some thought I have include crossing guards, additional traffic lights, road blinkers that activate when one wants to cross street and finally the installation of sidewalks all along Santa Cruz Ave. please address this issue before a terrible tragedy happens to our community. Thank you. I am a property owner in MP and have two grandchildren in you school system

Comments are closed.


Please help support InMenlo! Your contribution will help us continue to bring InMenlo to you. Click on the button below to contribute!