Palo Alto High School principal resigns after disciplinary letter goes public

By the Daily Post staff

Embattled Palo Alto High School Principal Kim Diorio announced today (March 9) that she will resign after 11 years at the school, the last four as principal.

Earlier this year, she was disciplined for her role responding to a student who was sexually assaulted in a school bathroom in 2016 and later bullied over the attack.

Diorio received a disciplinary letter from the school district’s HR chief, Anne Brown, on Jan. 11 and penned a response that blamed the district office for how the assault and its aftermath were handled. The letter and Diorio’s response were initially kept secret.

However, the Post filed a California Public Records Act request for the disciplinary letter and the district responded on Tuesday (March 6) by saying it was willing to release the document, but that Diorio would be given until March 12 to get a court order stopping its release.

Instead, Diorio released the letter and her rebuttal to the Paly campus newspaper, the Campanile, on Wednesday afternoon.

Diorio had been on medical leave since Feb. 23. She said in an email to students, parents and faculty that she plans to leave at the end of the school year, and will return in the spring to wrap up the school year.

In the email, she said she is resigning to take the next step in her career.

“So what’s next for me? That’s a good question. (Happy face emoji) I’m currently weighing a number of options and plan to make a decision in the coming months,” she wrote.

In the email, she doesn’t mention the controversy over the mishandling of the complaint by the sex assault victim. She also doesn’t mention the decision that she and possibly other administrators made to allow the girl’s assailant to continue at school after he had been convicted of a previous sex assault in 2015. The decision to allow the boy to continue to attend the school was contrary to school board policy and the Paly handbook. The district has provided no explanation for why the convicted sex offender was allowed to return to campus.


  1. Good riddance. Hopefully a few more in the administration will take the hint and leave now. What a mess the district has been in the past couple of years. They need to get out the broom and make a clean sweep.

  2. Kim was an excellent principal. She was always kind and had a cheerful word for everyone she greeted. She was generous with her time and extraordinarily responsive to parents like me. I have a hard time believing these trumped up (pun intended) allegations against her and find her response much more believable.

  3. I understand why Kim is leaving and I support her. I wish her the best in wherever life takes her. It’s a crying shame that she didn’t get more support from 25 Churchill and the school board. Her departure will make it harder to retain and attract top teachers. If the community cares, I hope they will scrutinize the school board candidates this fall. Two seats are available on the board. We need to make some good choices to get the district back on track. Meanwhile, count me as disappointed that Kim’s time as principal ended this way.

    • Father of 2 in PAUSD: “. . . makes it harder to retain and attract top teachers”? They are paid six figures, work 9 months/year, and protected by tenure after two years, a teacher’s dream when the average teacher salary is $55,000.

      Diorio allowed the student-athlete to continue classes on the Paly campus after forcing oral sex on a girl in the Paly bathroom. Doesn’t take a genius to know that is a mistake. That’s a violent crime while the science teacher was immediately kicked off campus for doing much less. Blaming the district office for their poor advice? She obviously has no common sense and agreed to a cover-up. She was a nice person with a huge lack of judgment and she never answered emails. She also spread misinformation about academics frequently. With two elementary-aged girls at home, she should be raising them; instead, she was allowing sexual assault on her school campus.

  4. You knew she would be quitting when she took the mysterious medical leave. Same move as Phil Winston. This move allows them to effectively quit and still collect a paycheck.

  5. Oh my! The PAUSD is looking for a new superintendent, new high school principal and a new budget director. Wheels are coming off the jalopy.

  6. I posted the following questions almost four years years ago. Fool’s questions:
    “… The following is a partial list of questions I asked myself, particularly in light of the recently published allegations around the prior principal’s actions and his subsequent demotion. I do hope that these questions were properly considered:
    1. Was Ms. Diorio aware of the sexual harassment allegations that were investigated by PAUSD officials before those became a cause for PAUSD official’s investigation?
    1.1 – If Ms. Diorio was aware of the allegations:
    1.1.1 Where did she take the info?
    1.1.2 – If she was aware, and did not forward the info, why didn’t she? (Was it because she was afraid of retaliation?)
    1.2 If Ms. Diorio was not aware of the allegations –
    1.2.1 Was she approachable to the woman who felt harassed?
    1.2.2 How come she was not aware?

    2. Streaking, campus culture etc. sampling –
    2.1 Did Ms. Diorio think that a clothes-optional school is a blessing to this community?
    2.2 If she did not approve of the streaking occurrences, where did she take her concerns before she was promoted? What did she do about her concerns?
    Basically, if any of the allegations published about the prior principal are correct, did Ms. Diorio roam around campus with her eyes/ears/mouth closed? And if so, why?…”

    The questions above are copied from my blog link: (or search for: village fool palo alto cleanup Hercules)

    • Village Fool: Diorio ended streaking in 2014. But only because it got so out of control with 100 males AND females streaking when the tradition was 1 male streaking so it was easy for admin to turn their heads. I think last year, however, one male did streak (with a small private, apparently).

  7. As a Paly parent, with kids in the Palo Alto school system for over 20 years, I cannot believe how hard we are on our school leadership. There has been a lot of turnover. How do we expect to hire decent people when the expectation is every mistake they make will be relentless front page news?

    It sounds like Dorio made a mistake. Did we ask her reasons? Did we ask what has been done to correct the mistake? Or do we just vilify her? And force her to resign. From what I hear/see, Dorio was well-loved at Paly. I can’t imagine that Dorio wanted to place the abused girl, or any other child, in harm’s way. She made a choice, I am sure she did it with careful consideration, and it turned out to be a poor choice (hindsight is wonderful, isn’t it, when you want to be critical).

    Isn’t one of the most important lessons we teach our kids is that we all learn by making mistakes. If we did everything right the first time, well, that just doesn’t happen, does it?

    We all find room to forgive ourselves, shouldn’t we do the same of our leadership (and at the same time expect changes in process and procedure)?

    • Momofboys: She allowed sexual assault on campus and you think that should be forgiven? If it were your daughter who was violated, I’m sure your tune would be 180. I suppose you also approve of the Oakland mayor warning 600 of the undocumented felons to leave because ICE was arriving.

    • To “Momofboys” … When you ask “It sounds like Dorio made a mistake. Did we ask her reasons?” … I don’t believe Diorio returns the calls from the newspapers who seek her response. It seems in every story I’ve seen about her lately, it says something like “Diorio didn’t return a call for comment.” She’s had plenty of opportunities to explain herself, but hasn’t taken them. I’ve got to think that if she had a reasonable explanation, she would have proffered it by now. From what I can tell, reading her rebuttal to the disciplinary letter, her only excuse is that she got bad advice from the district’s central office and its attorneys, and she was just following orders.

  8. She allowed a CONVICTED sex offender to return to campus. Both the Paly handbook and the board’s policy requires those convicted of sex offenses to be kept out of school. There isn’t any question about whether this offender was guilty of the 2005 church bathroom sex assault. It was adjudicated in Juvenile Court. Diorio violated the district’s policy. So, of course, she should be losing her job. And anybody else who had a say in this sex offender returning to school should lose their job as well.

  9. I can’t believe somebody on this thread is defending Diorio. Diorio has terrible judgment. She violated school district rules to allow a sex offender to return to campus. I’ll bet it was some kind of “restorative justice” type of program, where the offender is given a second chance. He got a second chance and sexually assaulted another girl. Diorio is lucky she wasn’t brought up on child neglect charges. If you had a daughter at Paly, you’d be outraged by her bad judgment too.

  10. I feel really sorry for anyone who takes over this role. Unfortunately, the vitriol coming from arm-chair quarterbacks on this thread and in other forums make this a really tough role to fill. Unless you have been in her shoes, it is hard to judge with such hate.

    After talking with teachers and having a student at Paly, it is clear that we do not have all of the facts. This vitriol also unfairly impacts the teachers that have really appreciated her leadership.

    I wonder how many on this page are actually Paly parents or just here to troll.

  11. We should raise the bar for our administrators, not settle for people who disregard the rules and don’t care about student safety. (And I’m not a troll!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.