CONTACT:  Sarah Wahrenbrock                       FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

310.450.8338, ext. 70229                                   28 AUG 2013



SMMUSD Welcomes new administrators!


At its August 28, 2013, meeting, the Board of Education approved the appointment of Dr. Ellen Edeburn and Ms. Irene Gonzalez-Castillo as the new Directors of Curriculum and Instruction. 


Ms. Gonzalez-Castillo will focus on teaching and learning as it relates to grades Pre-K-5, while Dr. Edeburn will focus on the grades 6-12.  Both directors will assist the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services as the district moves forward with Common Core Standards, STEM, Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), Equity and Access, and technology in the classroom. 


Below is information on Dr. Edeburn and Ms. Gonzalez-Castillo:


Dr. Ellen Edeburn

Dr. Edeburn comes to SMMUSD from the Castaic Union School District, where she has been serving as the Principal of Castaic Middle School for the past five years.  Prior to that, she served as the Assistant Principal at Hillside Middle School in the Simi Valley Unified School District and as the District Interim Assistant Principal at Canyon High School in the William S. Hart Union High School District.  She has taught grades Pre-K-6 and 9-12.  As Principal, Dr. Edeburn was responsible for the overall instructional program, including academic performance, social equity, and alignment of the district’s programs and resources.  She has been responsible for staff development and transition to Common Core standards, including instructional delivery systems, strategies, and 21st Century skills. 


Dr. Edeburn is well-versed in best practices to help close the achievement and equity gap at all grade levels.  While she was principal, her middle school gained 28 points in API with steady growth, she initiated the A.V.I.D. program and Theater Arts program on campus, she planned and organized direct transition programs to improve student articulation from elementary to secondary sites, and her middle school was twice named a Nationally Recognized School to Watch due to a culture of community collaboration that Dr. Edeburn established and encouraged.  Dr. Edeburn was named Middle Grades Principal of the Year in 2012-13 by the Association of California School Administrators.  She is a National Board Certified Teacher; she is a member of EdLeader 21; she has presented at conferences on the achievement of Latina/o students, project-based learning for middle schoolers, and equitable access to core curriculum; and she coached and mentored doctoral students for the purpose of improving educational practices in grades K-12. 


Ms. Irene Gonzalez-Castillo

Ms. Gonzalez-Castillo has been a Principal at McKinley Elementary School for the past eight years.  Prior to that, she served as Assistant Principal at Roosevelt Elementary School and Program Facilitator and Support Provider for beginning teachers in the Educational Services Department.  She has taught grades Pre-K-1 and special education with SMMUSD as well as taught child development at Santa Monica College.  As principal, she led the school’s efforts in establishing a culture of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), Response to Intervention (RTI), and transitioning to the California Common Core State Standards.  As a result of her efforts, McKinley Elementary School’s API climbed 28 points, and it received the California Title I Academic Achievement Award three times and was named a California Distinguished School.  Ms. Gonzalez-Castillo was named Elementary Grades Principal of the Year in 2009-10 by the Association of California School Administrators and was recognized by the California Department of Education for successfully launching a Professional Learning Community culture.


Ms. Gonzalez-Castillo is well-versed in best practices to help close the achievement and equity gap.  She used student achievement data to guide professional development to improve student outcomes; she infused school-wide reflective processes, such as Learning Walks, Academic Conferences, and Lesson Link; she built teacher leadership capacity; she communicated with diverse groups of parents, establishing a range of opportunities for families to voice their ideas; she promoted differentiated instruction to meet the learning needs of all students; and she promoted student reflection to improve communication skills and positive decision making.  Ms. Gonzalez-Castillo has presented on the principles of learning walks, professional learning communities, the California Formative Assessment Support System for Teachers, Project REACH, and multicultural and anti-bias curriculum. 


“I would like to welcome Dr. Edeburn to SMMUSD and congratulate Ms. Gonzalez-Castillo on her new position for 2013-14,” commented Lyon. 






1651 16TH Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404

ph: 310.450.8338; fax: 310.581.1138