The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Board of Education voted unanimously on August 13 to appoint Suzanne Webb as the new Principal for Lincoln Middle School (LMS).
In an interview with the Mirror, Ms. Webb stated that her first priority will be to “conduct a needs assessment survey” with her staff to find out “what they love about Lincoln, what they feel we need to work on, and what as individuals they are willing to work on.” She feels this is a more effective beginning for her administration rather than coming in with her own agenda because this way there will be a “buy in” from her staff for an agenda of change. Webb is also interested in meeting with all of Lincoln’s stakeholders to help ensure that the transition to her as Principal is “positive and smooth.”
Webb did not comment on whether the change in principals at Lincoln was the result of the arrest of Lincoln Middle School teacher Thomas Beltran on May 3 on 14 counts of alleged child molestation. However she did state that she would be spending a lot of time training all her staff on the District’s new policies on child abuse and neglect before school opens and that there will be additional training throughout the school year.
The new Lincoln principal is also interested in improving her students’ achievements in math and literacy. Lincoln students have traditionally scored in the upper percentiles in math and literacy on statewide exams, but Webb believes there’s “still room for improvement” so she is constantly looking for better ways to train her teachers to be more effective. She is also interested in helping to close the achievement gap between those students who traditionally don’t do well in school and those who excel.
Webb is no stranger to Lincoln. She worked there for six years as a math teacher before spending four years as the Assistant Principal at Malibu High School. While at Lincoln she assisted in the grant-writing for two awards the school received, the National Blue Ribbon School and the Disney School awards. Webb hopes she can make the needed changes so her school will be honored with additional awards.
A School District press release on Webb’s promotion states that Webb “oversaw discipline, classroom curriculum and instruction, and professional development for the entire teaching staff” at Malibu High School. She also oversaw the transition of students from fifth to sixth grade and from eighth to ninth grade, students in Special Education programs, and the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program. She also “worked closely with the middle school counselors to ensure the emotional well-being of all students.”
At the end of the interview Webb stressed, “ I love middle school students and I love motivating them. I’m a middle schooler at heart so I feel I understand them.”