Three new principals will join Santa Monica schools as the district finally said goodbye to a well-respected administrator at this past week.
Mike Matthews, Assistant Superintendant of Human Resources, performed his last official business at the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Board of Education meeting on Friday, June 18. After 17 years in the district, Matthews attended his final meeting where the board welcomed new principals to Santa Monica High School and John Adams Middle School. His replacement will be decided later this summer.
The administrative seats were filled among a fury of controversial matters, which culminated in a budget approval, in front of a vocal and heated gathering of district staff and community members. The new members were a bright issue in a sea of controversy.
The new staff includes Clara Herran as the new O-House principal and Renée Semik as the new I-House principal at Santa Monica High School. Chris Regan is the new assistant principal at John Adams Middle School. Superintendant Tim Cuneo introduced the new staff as
Regan comes from the Las Virgenes Unified School District, where he served as the assistant principal of Agoura High School for the past four years. He was the only new staff member who could attend Friday’s meeting where board members met and greeted him before starting the night.
Regan spoke before the board expressing his appreciation in a form of brevity not repeated during the well-debated events to follow.
Herran comes to Samohi from the Los Angeles Unified School District, where she served as the assistant principal of Susan Miller Dorsey High School for the past four years. As assistant principal she helped design a plan for Career and Technical Arts and a student behavior “Positive Support Plan.” Prior to that she worked as an instruction specialist and social study teacher.
Semik is a familiar face who was a social studies teacher at Samohi for the past five years. She worked as a teacher leader in the district who organized planning committee meetings and provided support to new teachers. She also participated in the district Task Force on Student Achievement for Students of Color.
Although the staff members have joined the team they will not be called to duty until June 28, due to five furlough days this week.
ONE’S LOSS IS ANOTHER’S GAIN
The community and board members paid a bittersweet tribute to district administrator Mike Matthews, who many remember as the former and first Malibu High School Principal. He will join the Manhattan Unified School District as the new Superintendant, proving the grass grows greener on the other side.
Cuneo held back emotion during his brief farewell to a close coworker that he couldn’t “thank enough” for his hard work for the schools.
Each board member got to say goodbye, with many community members from Santa Monica and Malibu singing praises and touting countless memories of a tireless educator. The Malibu City Council officially thanked Matthews for his “years of service,” as delivered at the meeting by councilmember Laura Rosenthal.
On a personal note, Rosenthal called Matthews her “education mentor.”
Matthews said his “short amount of time involved in the district,” a mere 21 years total, has been an “absolutely wonderful experience.”