Letter from SMMUSD Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati Made Announcement
By Dolores Quintana
SMMUSD Board member Keith Coleman has resigned effective August 31. Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati made the announcement the same day. Coleman is resigning for personal reasons related to his status as a caregiver to his elderly father. Coleman also said that he and his family have been the subject of threats and “false allegations” from anonymous sources that caused him to fear for the safety of his family.
These are the contents of the letter from Dr. Drati.
Dear Parents, Guardians, Staff, Students and Community Members,
I would like to inform you that I received the resignation of board member Keith Coleman, today, effective immediately.
Mr. Coleman has served with honor, integrity, excellence, and the best interests of SMMUSD students in mind. I appreciate his service and dedication to our communities, his passion for diversity, equity and inclusion work, and his dedication to student success and opportunity.
Here is Mr. Coleman’s letter:
I am writing to announce my resignation from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) school board, which shall be effective immediately.
Earlier this week I moved my elderly father from out of state to live with me in Santa Monica. My father is in very ill health, and I am currently his primary caregiver. After only a few days, I realize that caring for my dad will require much more time and energy than I had initially imagined; and that doing so will affect my ability to serve effectively on the board.
In addition to full-time caring for my ailing father, my family has been the target of false allegations, hurtful threats, including stalking, harassment, and bullying, over the past several months. These anonymous threats, vitriol, and hateful messages have caused me to fear for my safety and for that of my family members, including my son, if I continue to serve on the board.
Sincerely, I want to add that it has been a pleasure for me to serve on the school board and work with executive staff and employees of the District. They are all remarkably qualified and committed professionals and I admire them greatly. Likewise, board colleagues have been cordial, considerate and respectful of others’ views. I feel honored to have had this opportunity, and remain passionately concerned about the issues in our school community. I hope to continue fighting for improvement in our schools but shall do so in other ways.
My very best regards, Keith Coleman
Mr. Coleman has a stepson who attended Roosevelt Elementary and Samohi and a son who attended Roosevelt Elementary and Lincoln Middle School. Mr. Coleman began his involvement with SMMUSD on the Intercultural Equity & Excellence District Advisory Committee, with an interest in bullying prevention and education. He was unanimously appointed to a vacant school board position in January 2021.
We respect Mr. Coleman’s personal decision for resigning, thank him for his service and wish him well in all future endeavors.
Dr. Ben Drati, Superintendent