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Heidi began as principal of Washington Open in the fall of 2022.  She was thrilled to join this amazing community and help to continue the rich traditions and to continue to build the parent participation program. 

Heidi’s philosophy on leadership leans towards servant leadership.  She views herself as a “player-coach” or “team captain.”  A role in which she can work side by side with staff and families to improve the outcomes for students.  She sees herself as a support for staff and families, paving the way for them to be the best they can be for students.  She believes in shared leadership and fostering others’ leadership skills.  

Heidi’s educational philosophy includes students having a voice in their education.  Students should have choices and be encouraged to be engaged in their learning.  They should also be encouraged to build independence and learn to advocate for themselves and those around them.  Our school environments need to be ones where students feel safe, nurtured, and free to focus on their learning.  This includes all aspects of learning - their social-emotional, physical and their intellectual learning.  Hands-on, real-world experiences help to build students’ background knowledge and broaden their views of the world.  Education needs to expand on these experiences and help students eventually become respectful, responsible, contributors to our society.

Heidi Pilawski received her degree in psychology and her reading specialist credential from the University of California, San Diego. She received a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Bridgeport and a master’s degree in applied school leadership from National University.  Heidi has been in education for over 30 years.  Before coming to Washington Open, she had been serving as a school support teacher on special assignment (TOSA) and a literacy intervention teacher in Santa Clara Unified school district since 2018. Prior to her role as a TOSA, Heidi taught kindergarten through third grade in the Cupertino USD and Palo Alto USD as well as in Connecticut and Southern California. She also taught and was a director at a parent education preschool for 9 years in Palo Alto. 


Principal Heidi wearing an orange dress and standing at the open door to the office with her hands up

Heidi Pilawski