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Facebook 101: Priscilla Chan to Head New Palo Alto Private School

by Keith Wagstaff /

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Priscilla Chan, wife of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, will head a new private school in East Palo Alto, California, aimed at educating underserved children.

The couple will also be contributing a sizable amount to fund the school, according to the San Jose Mercury News. While Facebook wouldn't comment on the funding of the school, a spokesperson told NBC News that Chan is "passionate about this work because it’s an opportunity to change the trajectory of kids’ lives in her local community."

Chan, a former school teacher and current pediatrician at San Francisco General Hospital, will serve as CEO of The Primary School, which is slated to open in August 2016. Chan and Zuckerberg announced in July that they were expecting their first child.

The Primary School will serve the community's "highest-need children" from preschool through 12th grade and cost nothing to attend. According to its website, it will differ from traditional schools by offering "deeply integrated health services" and stressing parental involvement.

"The effects of trauma and chronic stress create an invisible burden for children that makes it very difficult for them to be healthy and live up to their academic potential," Chan wrote in a Facebook post. "We must address these issues holistically in order to allow children to succeed."

While Palo Alto might be best known for Stanford University and tech start-ups, neighboring East Palo Alto has been beset by high crime rates in the past, although they plummeted in 2014.

Zuckerberg and Chan have a history of donating to educational causes. In 2010, the Facebook CEO made a $100 million donation to the school system in Newark, New Jersey — though some have argued the money has done little to improve the schools. Last year, Zuckerberg and Chan put $120 million into Startup: Education, their foundation meant to better Bay Area public schools.

"On a personal note, it's inspiring to see Priscilla grow as an entrepreneur and leader," Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook. "I'm looking forward to watching with pride as she develops The Primary School into a great resource for our community."

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