PMP294: Ensuring Staff and Student Voice with Brent Kline

Brent Kline is Principal of Palo Alto High School, in Palo Alto, California. His previous administration roles include four years at Santa Cruz High School. He began his education career as a teacher in Clovis, California, and he served as a teacher and principal at Mariner High School, Everett, Washington for more than two decades. In 2013, he was the Washington State High School Principal of the Year and a 2014 finalist for NASSP’s National Principal of the Year Program.  As the Washingon State High School Principal of the Year, Kline’s commitment to literacy and academic excellence had resulted in a 10-year increase in the percentage of students meeting standards in reading and writing.

Brent was named the principal of Palo Alto High School (Paly), beginning his new position in the fall of 2020.  Although his position began at the height of the pandemic and virtual learning, Brent continued the important task of including both student and staff voice to ensure the involvement of the entire school community with the immediate task of providing positive and relevant learning experiences throughout the challenges of the pandemic.  Beginning in January 2021, Brent began facilitating conversations and learning opportunities with his staff and students around equity, with a focus on equitable grading practices.  With the help of equity expert Enid Lee, Brent has led both the staff and students in a variety of conversations designed to unpack the effects of current grading practices, while exploring new and innovative practices that could be implemented to meet the needs of students in this ever-changing world.  

He holds a bachelor’s degree from California State University at Hayward and a master’s degree from Western Washington University.  Brent has presented at conferences including:  Washington Educational Research Association, Coalition of Essential Schools, and Association of Washington School Principals.  He was awarded the Western Association of Secondary Administrators Outstanding Achievement Award (2008), Western Scholastic Conference Distinguished Principal Award (2008, 2012), and the Washington State High School Principal of the Year (2013).  

Listen-in as Brent shares the traditions that his campus has embraced since its beginning in 1918 – ironically the same year the nation was experiencing a global pandemic. He also talks about the following:

  • His partnership with Enid Lee who has facilitated conversations with staff and students on equity. (You can check out this interview with her for more information:
  • Ways his leadership team has invited staff and students to influence change at your high school.
  • Outcomes or responses that have surprised him most when involving staff and student voice.
  • Feedback from a student-created podcast with responses on conversations around equity. Why his students created this and how this has helped encourage student voice.
  • How his school has used Joe Feldman’s Grading for Equity as a collaborative resource:

We also talk about executive coaching as Brent has partnered with Principals Matters, LLC. this past year and the benefits of our weekly meetings.

In addition, Brent explains the targets from staff/teachers produced from shared leadership:

You can reach back to Mr. Brent Kline at his email address or via his school website:

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker