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School Board Hires District Administrator as Superintendent

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By Lookout Staff

June 1, 2023 -- After an "arduous national search," the School Board on Thursday tapped one of its own, unanimously voting to promote District Executive Director Dr. Antonio M. Shelton to superintendent.

Shelton will assume the post on July 1 from interim superintendent Mark Kelly, who has run the District after Ben Drati's surprise resignation last November ("Drati Makes Surprise Departure from School District," November 21, 2022).

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"Dr. Shelton is committed to finding creative solutions that consider the diverse perspectives of educational partners, while maintaining the focus on meeting the needs of all students," District officials said in a press release issued shortly after the vote.

In his role as executive director over the past year Shelton "has been responsible for consistent support, mentoring, and coaching of principals as they lead their sites toward the District’s vision and goals," District officials said.

Shelton has 23 years of educational experience, serving 18 years in administrative roles, including six as lead principal of Santa Monica High School.
Antonio Shelton

Shelton currently "supports the assistant superintendent of human resources and participated on the negotiations team regarding certificated and classified bargaining units," officials said.

Before joining the District, Shelton served as principal of the top 100 US News ranked Indian Hill High School in Cincinnati, Ohio from 2011-2016.

He also served as assistant principal for curriculum and instruction at William Mason High School in Mason, Ohio from 2009 to 2011 and assistant principal at Sycamore High School in Cincinnati from 2004 to 2009.

Shelton began his teaching career in 1998 teaching honors United States and world history along with government and African American history.

"It is an honor to have been chosen to lead a district that is on the move in a positive direction," Shelton said in a statement Thursday.

"I envision a journey ahead with collaboration and community built on trust between myself and the educational partners of SMMUSD.

"I look forward to leading the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District community, its faculty, staff, and students to greater heights,” Shelton said.

Before choosing Shelton, the District reviewed 35 applications and held in-person interviews with top candidates, said Board President Maria Leon-Vazquez.

“Dr. Antonio Shelton rose to the top and was selected by the Board,” Leon-Vazquez said. “Our communities are special and demand the best, and so does the Board.

"We welcome Dr. Shelton into his new role as the superintendent for SMMUSD. We are looking forward to him hitting the ground running leading SMMUSD through the 21st-century while planning for the 22nd-century.”

Click here to watch Shelton’s video message.

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