To the Communities of Santa Monica and Malibu,
In this open letter, the Board of Education wishes to communicate the positive actions we are taking to ensure a smooth transition into the next school year and address concerns raised by some community members about the recent turnover in several key positions in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. We want to assure our community that teachers and school administrators, classified staff, central office staff, and the Board remain dedicated to the ongoing and smooth operation of our schools and to high quality instruction for all students. Our summer school intervention program, which benefited from research-based improvement of instruction and staff development last year, will be even better this year thanks to feedback from students, parents, and faculty. Teachers will receive the staff development they want and need over the summer in preparation for the new school year. Most faculty openings for next year are filled, and we remain dedicated to filling the few remaining openings with only the best candidates.
Similarly, we are committed to filling key principal positions at Santa Monica High School, John Adams Middle School, and Lincoln Middle School with the highest caliber of educators. We will not hastily fill these vacancies for the sake of filling them. Meanwhile, we are extremely fortunate to have Ilene Straus, who has years of experience leading Lincoln and Samohi, and several other excellent former Principals in our central office to facilitate and assist with these transitions. We also have experienced House Principals at Samohi and Assistant Principals in our middle schools and highly competent Assistant Superintendents and administrative personnel who will bring continuity to these schools and ensure stability throughout the entire district.
The Board has evaluated excellent, experienced, and highly qualified candidates for Superintendent, and we are in the final stages of the interview process. We expect to make a decision in the next few weeks. We are unanimous that we will only hire an outstanding individual with demonstrated experience in reducing the achievement gap and raising achievement for all students, and who possesses the many qualities and attributes that the community, through its extensive input process, expects from our next Superintendent.
The Board acknowledges and shares our community’s concerns during this time of change. However, we assure the community that neither we nor the employees of our district will compromise on the community’s expectations for excellence in instruction and education and for integrity in district operations. Moreover, with both urgency and care, we will search to fill all our leadership positions with the highest quality individuals who will best serve the needs of our students. The Board confidently expects and anticipates a smooth, successful and seamless academic year for 2006/07.
Julia Brownley – President
Kathy Wisnicki – Vice President
Oscar de la Torre