CONTACT:  Sarah Wahrenbrock                       FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

310.450.8338, ext. 70-229                                  07 JUN 2012



SMMUSD Welcomes new administrators!


At its June 7, 2012, meeting, the Board of Education approved the appointment of Dr. Mark Kelly as the new Director of Student Services, Ms. Shirley Compton as the new Principal of Grant Elementary School, and Dr. Pamela Herkner-Chasse as the new Principal of Juan Cabrillo Elementary School.


Dr. Sally Chou, Chief Academic Officer, Ms. Marolyn Freedman, Director of Student Services, Mr. Alan Friedenberg, Principal of Grant ES, and Mr. Barry Yates, Principal of Juan Cabrillo ES, will be retiring at the end of June.


Below is information on Dr. Kelly, Ms. Compton, and Dr. Herkner-Chasse:


Dr. Mark Kelly

Dr. Kelly was appointed the Principal of Malibu Middle/High School in 2004.  Before joining the MHS team, he served as Assistant Principal and Co-Principal at Santa Monica High School.  Prior to that, Dr. Kelly taught educational leadership courses at UCLA and Cal State Northridge, facilitated curriculum workshops at the Los Angeles Systemic Initiative, and taught math at North Hollywood High School, Richard E. Byrd Junior High School, and Francisco Sepulveda Junior High School.  As principal, he planned and facilitated professional development for teachers to ensure alignment with state standards; led staff, parents, and the community in a facilities modernization project; guided the campus through a WASC self-study and mid-term visit; and managed all dimensions of school life, including instruction, campus operations and budget, master scheduling, staffing, partnerships, and community relations.  Dr. Kelly also promoted the development of student leadership through the many student organizations on campus and provided students with a variety of academic experiences during their high school years.


Dr. Kelly is well-versed in implementing best practices to ensure the academic and personal success of all students.  As principal, he set a high level of expectation for all students, while putting into place student support systems to deal with the stress of an academically challenging environment.  With all levels of student ability and interests in mind, he developed Regional Occupations Program (ROP) options, implemented an Independent Study Program as an alternative education program , and provided oversight of special education programs, including individual education programs (IEPs), student study teams, and discipline.   Dr. Kelly has experience in coordinating crisis response, maintaining effective partnerships with the community and outside organizations, and promoting the school and district to prospective families. 


Ms. Shirley Compton

Ms. Compton was appointed the Assistant Principal of Grant ES in July 2011.  Before joining the Grant team, she served as the Assistant Principal of John Adams Middle School for four years.  Prior to that, Ms. Compton taught 7th/8th grade Social Studies at JAMS and was also a 6th grade teacher at an elementary school for three years.  As Assistant Principal at Grant ES, she led special education meetings, revised the School Safety Plan, participated in Project-Based Learning staff development meetings, and organized a bullying prevention program on campus.  As Assistant Principal at JAMS, she was a member of a collaborative team that was instrumental in increasing student achievement.  As State Testing Site Coordinator, she witnessed a 72-point gain in the school’s state test scores.  Under Ms. Compton's leadership, JAMS had an increase in positive school behavior as the result of the adoption and thorough implementation of a new school-wide discipline policy. 


Ms. Compton is well-versed in best collaborative practices among teachers, students, families, and communities.  She is experienced in leading Student Success Teams, working with outside agencies to support all students and ensuring a safe environment for learning. She is experienced in using technology to enhance communication among staff, students, families, and community, as well as leading professional developments for teachers on using effective formal and informal assessments and content-area writing strategies.  In December of 2010, Ms. Compton received the Lakers Principal of the Month Award for her accomplishments at JAMS.


Dr. Pamela Herkner-Chasse

Dr. Herkner-Chasse comes to SMMUSD from the Conejo Valley Unified School District, where she has been serving as the Principal of Ladera Elementary School for the past four years.  Prior to that, Dr. Herkner-Chasse served as Adjunct Professor and Lecturer at California Lutheran University in the Department of Educational Leadership, Principal of Sycamore Canyon School, Principal of Glenwood Elementary School, Summer School Principal for Special Education, Principal of Pierpont Elementary School, a resource specialist teacher, and the Director of Education at Woodview-Calabasas Psychiatric Hospital.  As a Principal, she increased API test scores, implemented researched-based programs for at-risk intervention, led a whole-child process to teaching and learning, oversaw the establishment and creation of a K-8 school, and reinvigorated the learning environment by instituting a Professional Learning Community approach to decision making on the campus. 


Dr. Herkner-Chasse is well-versed in special education best-practices, having worked with children with special needs over the past thirty years.  She has applied these skills and knowledge to ensure the academic and emotional success of all children at all ability levels.  Dr. Herkner-Chasse has received several leadership awards and is an active member of her community. 


“I would like to wish a happy retirement to Dr. Chou, Ms. Freedman, Mr. Friedenberg, and Mr. Yates and thank them for their years of service and dedication to our district.  I congratulate Dr. Kelly, Ms. Compton, and Dr. Herkner-Chasse on their appointments,” commented Superintendent Sandra Lyon.





1651 16TH Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404

ph: 310.450.8338; fax: 310.581.1138