Contact:    Dr. Michael D. Matthews

310-450-8338, ext. 241

For Immediate Release

May 31, 2006


SMMUSD Offers District Office Position to Santa Monica High CEO


Dr. Ilene Straus, Chief Educational Officer of Santa Monica High School, has been offered the position of Senior Director of Secondary Education for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, a position that will become effective following the close of the current school year, Interim Superintendent Dr. Michael Matthews announced today.


“Dr. Straus has been a strong leader in our middle and high schools, and with this promotion we will be able to utilize her skills and experience throughout the District,” Dr. Matthews said.  “I think we are fortunate to be able to use her talents at the district level.”


Dr. Straus noted that she began at Santa Monica High School four years ago, and will now “graduate” along with the students who came to the school at the same time.  “It’s been four exciting years, with great students, many terrific teachers and an amazing support staff,” she said.  “Along with the school board and district staff, we redesigned the school into six smaller ‘houses’, and the results are now clear.  Academic achievement is up and students are now doing much better.”


Prior to joining Santa Monica High, Dr. Straus served for sixteen years as principal of Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica, where she was selected as California Secondary Principal of the Year.  Under her leadership, Lincoln was selected as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, a California Distinguished School and Disney Spotlight School of the Year.


Dr. Matthews said the District will begin a search process immediately to find a successor at Santa Monica High School who will carry on the school’s improvement program.



Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District

1651 16th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404


310.581.1138 fax