CONTACT:Jose Escarce, Board President                        FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
310.450.8338, ext. 70241


At a special meeting on May 9, 2011, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education took action to appoint Sandra L. Lyon as SMMUSD’s new Superintendent, effective July 1, 2011. 

"Sandy emerged as the front-runner from a group of superb and highly qualified finalists for the position,” remarked Board of Education President José Escarce.  “Her intelligence, experience, personal warmth, focus on all students, and collaborative approach make her ideal for our schools and communities.  We are thrilled that she will be assuming the leadership of our district this summer, and we look forward to working with her to make our schools better for all students.”

Ms. Lyon has served as the Chief Leadership Officer in the Palmdale Unified School District for the past two years, where she supervised, evaluated, and provided support for the District’s twenty-four principals.  She collaborated with all District departments to address issues of planning, communication, and implementation.  While at Palmdale, Ms. Lyon also focused on improving middle school student achievement.

Prior to her work in Palmdale, Ms. Lyon served as the Superintendent/Principal of Hughes-Elizabeth Lakes School District. As Superintendent/Principal of this one-school district, Ms. Lyon wore many hats, working with the Board of Trustees to develop and update policies, with the Chief Business Officer in labor negotiations, and providing staff professional development and implementing new instructional programs and practices.

Ms. Lyon’s other administrative positions have included the Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for the Lancaster Unified School District; middle school principal; and elementary school principal and assistant principal.  Prior to taking on an administrative role, Ms. Lyon taught language arts and coordinated an after-school program for at-risk students. 

Her efforts in Lake Hughes, including the implementation of a Response to Instruction and Intervention program and the creation of a climate of unity, trust, and enthusiasm among staff members helped the school to earn a California Distinguished School Award. 

In addition to her experience in public education, Ms. Lyon has also been a journalist in Northern California. 

“I'm thrilled to welcome Sandy Lyon to our School District,” commented Board of Education Vice President Ben Allen.  “We had a very strong pool of candidates, but were so impressed by Sandy's combination of experience, leadership, warmth, and vision.  Everyone who knows Sandy sings her praises, and I know that she'll make an exceptional Superintendent for our District.”

SMMUSD’s current superintendent, Tim Cuneo, has been with the district since July 2008 and will retire in June 2011.  To learn more about the selection process for the new superintendent, please visit

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