Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) Superintendent Brian McDonald, Ed.D., has named Mercy Santoro as Associate Superintendent for School Support Services. Under the direction of the Superintendent, Santoro will be responsible for the district’s school support programs, including after school enrichment services, enrollment, communications, parent engagement, community engagement and intergovernmental relations. She will also serve as the Superintendent’s spokesperson for the district.
“After having worked closely with Mercy over the last few years through Collaborate PASadena, I am thrilled to welcome her to the district,” said McDonald. “Her leadership and experience will help propel the district forward in implementing new operating principles focused on leadership, flexibility and accountability at the school and district levels so that we can provide a stimulating educational experience for today’s learners and tomorrow’s leaders.”
Santoro has extensive experience in human services, municipal government, strategic planning and staff development. She joins PUSD from the City of Pasadena, where she has been Director of Human Services and Recreation since 2011. Santoro played a critical role in developing and leading the 2013-2016 School/City Work Plan, now known as Collaborate PASadena, that aligns resources to improve educational outcomes and the quality of life for children, youth and families of the Greater Pasadena area. Key community-building projects implemented during her tenure include Parks after Dark, the 40 Developmental Asset Survey and UCLA’s Early Child Development Index.
“I am honored to be selected as the first Associate Superintendent of School Support Services for the Pasadena Unified School District,” Santoro said. “During my service with the City of Pasadena, I made establishing a collaborative working relationship with the school district a top priority with a goal of aligning services to benefit students and families in and out of school. Through the development and implementation of the initial School/City/Community Work Plan, now known as Collaborate PASadena, I became familiar with many of the excellent programs and services offered. I see incredible opportunity in working with staff, educators, community partners, students, parents, and the Pasadena Educational Foundation to build on this work, to align the various services and offices this position will support, and to ultimately work toward ensuring the Pasadena Unified School District is a district of choice. This is a very exciting time for the residents of Altadena, Pasadena and Sierra Madre given the reenergized vision and leadership that the Board of Education and Superintendent McDonald are championing. I am looking forward to being a part of the team.”
Prior to the City of Pasadena, Santoro was Director of Human Services for the City of Claremont and worked as an adjunct professor for the University of La Verne teaching developmental psychology.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from California State University, San Bernardino, a Master’s degree in Child Development from the University of La Verne, and completed post-Master’s work in Human Services Leadership at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena.