Gregg Patner wants to be more than just your vice principal


Gregg Patner at work in his office. “I would love an open door policy. Come in and get to know me a little bit,” said Patner.

Zoe Wildman, Highlander Editor

Since 1997, Gregg Patner has been using his bilingualism and unique skills to help English-language learners, students with special needs, and now the 9th and 11th grades at Carlmont High School.

Some of the qualities that made Patner especially appealing as a candidate for the Vice Principal position were that he “speaks Spanish, has good leadership experience as the principal of summer school, was a bilingual resource teacher, and was the department chair for special education,” said Principal Ralph Crame, “It’s hard to find people that have that skillset; that understand the legalities of special education and how to help students.”

Patner started his career in education as a substitute teacher, then moved to the Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto where he began working in special education.

“For my first job in special ed. I wanted to work with students individually, so I was a bilingual speech and language therapist… and I was able to do that because I spoke Spanish,” said Patner.

He then transitioned to a resource specialist where he worked with students primarily on their academics and less on their speech and language.

In 2000, Patner moved to Menlo-Atherton High School where he, again, worked as a resource specialist as a special education teacher, and was the head football coach. After 12 years, Patner became the bilingual resource teacher where he worked with English language learners.

Now at Carlmont, Patner would like to get involved with his students as the Vice Principal for 9th and 11th grade.

Patner said, “My responsibility is to deal with behavior, but in dealing with behavior that doesn’t mean it’s negative behavior only. One thing I really like to do is find the kids that are doing it right.”

While he does plan to acknowledge the students that are doing well, Patner doesn’t plan on making any sweeping changes for the foreseeable future.

“First I want to understand everything that’s being done [by the Carlmont administration]. That’s really what my initial charge is. I don’t want to be the guy who comes in and says, ‘Oh, we have to this and this,’ without even really understanding if it’s going to work,” said Patner, “I’ve been incredibly impressed with what I’ve seen; it’s amazing the things that we are doing here, it’s really cool.”

It is evident that Patner genuinely enjoys being a part of students’ time in high school. He recognizes that the four years students spend at Carlmont are a time of transition and growth, and that everyone’s experiences, while greatly varied, are always highly memorable.