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Santa-Monica-Malibu School Board Names New McKinley Elementary School Principal


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By Lookout Staff

June 30, 2017 -- Ashley Benjamin, whose doctoral dissertation explored closing the achievement gap for Latino English learners, was named the new principal of McKinley Elementary by the Santa Monica-Malibu School Board last week.

Benjamin, who served as assistant principal at Franklin Elementary School for the past three years, will replace Susan Yakich, who is leaving SMMUSD for a principal position at a school in northern California.

At Franklin, Benjamin "oversaw testing, special education, emergency preparedness, scheduling, the Olweus bullying prevention program, behavior and discipline," district officials said.
Ashley Benjamin

She also "worked closely with the principal on all aspects of school oversight, was the founder and coach of the Franklin Spirit Squad Cheerleading Team and created a monthly school newsletter," officials said.

Benjamin, who was named teacher of the year while at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and received an honorary service award from the Franklin Elementary School PTA, said she welcomes the new challenge.

“I am very excited to be joining a school family where diversity is valued, teachers care about the whole child and collaboration and teamwork are a norm,” Benjamin said in a statement.

“I’m looking forward to strengthening school traditions, while bringing families and staff together in a welcoming, safe and positive environment conducive to learning.”

Before joining the district, Benjamin worked at LAUSD as as a categorical programs advisor, K-5 intervention coordinator and a teacher at diverse Title I elementary and middle schools.

"While in the LAUSD, she gained experience with managing school budgets, working with English Learner students and forming school partnerships," officials said.

Benjamin holds a doctorate in education leadership from University of Southern California (USC) and a Master of Arts in social and multicultural foundations of education from Cal State Long Beach.

She also holds a Bachelor of Science in education general studies and a Bachelor of Arts in gender studies from USC.

Her studies have included an emphasis on "race, ethnicity, class, culture and gender studies in education," District officials said.

“Ashley will be a valuable addition to our district leadership team,” said Superintendent Ben Drati. “Her strong commitment to providing access and opportunities to all students so they meet their full potential will serve McKinley families well."

Benjamin assumes to top post at McKinley on July 1.


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