The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education approved at its May 16 meeting the appointment of Elias Miles, Kelly Tabis, and Blain Watson as the new House Principals at Santa Monica High School.
Elias Miles comes to SMMUSD from Westchester Enriched Science Magnets, where he has been serving as Assistant Principal/Instructional Specialist. Prior to that, he served as Program Coordinator at Westchester Enriched Science Magnets, Summer School Principal at Hamilton High School, and a Special Education teacher at both Susan Miller Dorsey High School and Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnets.
As Assistant Principal, Miles co-wrote the school-board-adopted plan to transform Westchester into three science-themed magnets, resulting in a 42-point API gain. He managed Attendance and Enrollment functions, including an Attendance Plan that led to the highest attendance in Local District 3. Miles has focused on innovative, research-based professional development to foster school improvement and achievement for diverse student sub-groups. He has created CAHSEE intervention programs, implemented instructional programs for English Learners, and has served as Title I Categorical Program Advisor, Bilingual Coordinator, and standardized testing Coordinator. He improved parent engagement through interactive grade-book systems. He has experience with CIF athletic programs and has served as a soccer, track and field, and football coach. He brings key professional goals to Samohi: impassioned listening, deliberate self-reflection, and a drive to align the school’s mission to the goals of the greater community.
Kelly Tabis returns to SMMUSD from Beverly Hills High School, where she has been serving as Assistant Principal for the past five years. Prior to that, she was a Special Education teacher and department chair at Santa Monica High School. She also taught Special Education at New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL.
As Assistant Principal, Tabis created the master schedule for 2200 students, and managed the discipline, academic progress, attendance and overall educational experience for 860 students. She developed student study team practices and policies, managed and communicated student 504 plans, and restructured the special education department to bring co-taught classes to the high school. Tabis is knowledgeable in all areas of Special Education, and has collaborated with counseling staff on all student issues. She structured the crisis response team and collaborated with local police agencies in dealing with student safety. She ran the Student Success team meetings which involved teachers, students and parents collaborating to create a plan to support students, offer instructional strategies to teachers, and work together to help students succeed. Tabis brings to Samohi a strong belief that all students can learn, and that educators and school leaders must provide opportunities for students to show us what they can achieve.
Blain Watson comes to SMMUSD from Animo Locke Tech Charter High School, where he has been serving as Principal. Prior to that, he was Principal in Residence for Green Dot Public Schools, and Associate Director at West Adams Prep High School. As a Spanish teacher, he taught AP Spanish and served as Department Chair at Animo Inglewood Charter High School. Additionally, he taught in the Locke Launch to College Academy summer program, and spent a year teaching English as a Foreign Language and participating in community programs in Quito, Ecuador.
As Principal, Watson successfully led a school turnaround project, including providing direction for the planning, development and implementation of the school curriculum. He developed a progressive student discipline management system that resulted in positive student behavior and a 50% reduction in the suspension rate. The school increased the student average daily attendance rate by 3 percent in three years. Watson has experience joining with teacher leaders and administrators on an Instructional Leadership Team to create the school’s data-driven strategic plan and to monitor progress toward instructional and school-wide goals. He has a strong teaching background with expert bilingual skills. He has created and implemented dynamic programs that foster student learning, and has shown the ability to forge strong relationships with parents, students, faculty members and community partnerships. He brings to Samohi an unwavering belief in all students’ potential to succeed, and the priority to put students first.