Deputy Superintendent of Strategic Partnerships and Communications

Gentle Blythe

Gentle Blythe is Deputy Superintendent for Communications and Strategic Partnerships at the San Francisco Unified School District where she leads communications and fundraising programs to support and advance the district’s mission of providing each and every student with the quality instruction and equitable support required to thrive in the 21st century. In this capacity, Blythe also serves as the President of SFUSD’s non-profit partner Spark* SF Public Schools

During her tenure at SFUSD Gentle has led external communications, including public relations, social media, crisis communications, website and marketing.  To improve access and convey the organization’s vision, she oversaw the rebranding, including full website redesign and CMS migration, logo design and style guide creation. SFUSD has 10,000 employees located at over 120 schools and dozens of departments. To support employees with finding the information needed to do their jobs, Blythe created SFUSD’s first internal communications position and program including overseeing the development of an intranet, employee newsletter, crisis communications infrastructure, employee onboarding and employee recognition program. She co-facilitated a collaborative process of identifying organizational core values and customer service standards to build coherence and improve the experience of students and families. Over the years she has spearheaded communications for multiple organizational change initiatives including a new student assignment system, new core curriculum and new high school graduation requirements. 

In addition to overseeing communications, Gentle Blythe cultivates and stewards the district’s philanthropic and corporate partnerships as President of Spark* SF Public Schools, a non-profit with a community board of directors. In this capacity she has built the organization’s fiscal stewardship capacity –– moving from several audit findings at the outset of her tenure to no current audit findings. When the COVID-19 pandemic began and schools faced millions in new costs associated with feeding and educating students, Blythe led the effort to secure partnerships to deploy meals, technology and more, resulting in over $16 million in new revenue in support of SFUSD students. 

Prior to joining the executive team at SFUSD in 2006, Blythe held various leadership roles in nonprofits dedicated to serving low-income communities through public school improvement and increased access to extended learning opportunities and mental health support. She created an award-winning school-based multi-services program that provided mentoring, counseling, academic enrichment and other student, staff and family support services. While serving as a community organizer she worked alongside public housing residents to create leadership development programs for both youth and adults. 

Ms. Blythe holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University and completed her multiple subject teaching credential at San Francisco State University. She has been honored with the Brown University Resource Scholar Fellowship, the Citizen's Community Foundation Award, the Howard R. Swearer Community Excellence Award, and the Association of California School Administrators Administrator of the Year Award. She enjoys being a foster mom for two wonderful young people.


This page was last updated on November 29, 2021