Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Sandra Lyon Leaving Job As District Superintendent

 

SMMUSD Superintendent Sandra Lyon

Superintendent Sandra Lyon, who has been superintendent of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District since 2011, said that she is leaving SMMUSD on July 1, 2016 in order to become superintendent of the Palm Springs Unified School District.

"I have had the wonderful opportunity to serve the Santa Monica and Malibu communities for the past five years, and am especially proud to be part of an amazing team of leaders and teachers who have worked very hard to build our school district into the high-performing school district it is today," Lyon said.

"This decision is a difficult one for me to make as we are turning the corner on becoming a more student-centered district with equity and access clearly defined as our goal for all students."

The Palm Springs Unified School District has 23,300 students in 27 schools, covering six cities in the Coachella Valley, making it about twice the size of the SMMUSD, which has 11,000 students in 16 schools at SMMUSD. Palm Springs Unified is decidedly poorer, having more than 80 percent students whom the District describes as "socio-economically disadvantaged."

"This is the right time in the right community for me and I'm looking forward to working with the new board and leadership on improving parent engagement, improving outcomes for all students and working closely with the stakeholders, in the communities," Lyon said. "I am grateful for my time in the SMMUSD and all of the colleagues and community members I've worked with and learned from over the years."

Board of Education leadership will work with the full board in the coming weeks to determine next steps in searching for her successor, according to SMMUSD.

Lyon has led the district during numerous controversies including the environmental issues in Malibu, subsequent approvals from the Environmental Protection Agency, future plans for modernization, multiple legal challenges and initiating the review of Malibu Unification. She was instrumental in community efforts to pass Measure ES, a $385 million bond measure overwhelmingly approved by local voters in 2012.

"Sandy has done a tremendous job over the past five years," Board President Laurie Lieberman said.

"While we still have work to do, her vision and leadership, particularly in the areas of equity, collaboration and team-building across the district, have moved us forward, supported students to be better prepared for college and career, while at the same time representing the district well with our community partners. I have admired her genuineness and integrity along with her resilience, as I know others have, as well. She will be greatly missed."

 

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