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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

New district official Jamal Splane takes on essential role in school culture


While Jamal Splane was delighted to become the Director of School Culture and Climate position at Los Gatos Saratoga Union High School District (LGSUHSD) last summer, his younger self never would have envisioned working in education. 

“My goal was to be a professional [basketball] athlete, and through high school and community college, I was able to attain some athletic accomplishments,” Splain said. “But that didn’t last forever.”

Splane pursued accounting for a semester at San Jose State University (SJSU) before changing majors to social justice, which he felt more passionate about at the time.

“I grew up in San Jose, a community that had a variety of challenges. I’ve had friends who fell by the wayside with the law and ended up either in prison or dead, so I thought I would go into social justice,” he said.

After studying social justice for a semester, however, Splane said he realized that he wanted to explore other fields. After a semester of psychology classes, he discovered that he wanted to dedicate his life to the field. 

After graduating from SJSU, Splane attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he got a doctorate in educational psychology.

Splane wanted to work in schools as a counselor, assisting students who have learning disabilities, developing programs for them and supporting their families.

For 10 years, Splane was a counselor in various middle schools across Santa Clara, which said he enjoyed thoroughly. When he realized it was time for a change, he became assistant principal of Moreland Middle School. He said he enjoyed “helping knuckleheads who ended up in [his] office on a behavior referral, turning them around and connecting with them.”

 Dr. Splane was then hired by LGSUHSD after helping turn around Moreland, a school that had struggled with behavioral issues, into one with a more productive environment.


When Splane began working in the district, he realized there was a lot of unrest within the two main communities. 

“I was right along with the school district when dealing with the aftermath of the George Floyd movement, all of the community unrest about opening schools and the arguments about masking, vaccinations, the allegations of racism and sexual harassment,” he said. “I was hired to help take care of this new area and support the school district moving forward.”

Splane has seen that the staff and community at Saratoga High have focused on mental health more than other schools, such as through the Wellness Center. 

He has seen that Los Gatos High and Saratoga High have very different needs in terms of improving the climate. At Los Gatos, he works to reduce micro-aggressions and encourage tolerance among students; at Saratoga, he is more focused on helping students with their academic stress and mental health. Splane said that he feels strongly about helping students, and is lucky that he was able to find his passion.

“Everyone is born with sort of a central power, or something that drives their purpose. I think we’re all born with that, and I’m lucky to be able to pursue it,” he said.

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