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Three Santa Monica Schools Get New Administrators

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By Lookout Staff

August 25, 2015 -- A former House Principal at Samohi has returned to campus and two long-time educators have joined the administrative teams at John Muir and McKinley Elementary schools, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District officials announced last week.

Tristan Komlos, who has been appointed new House principal for Samohi, had served in the same capacity from 2004 to 2006, when she was transferred to Lincoln Middle School as its principal. Komlos has served as principal of John Muir Elementary School since 2008.

“I have enjoyed the close relationships formed at Muir, and will miss the students and staff,”

Komlos said. “I look forward to seeing Muir students at Samo in the future.”

Before joining the District, Komlos was a teacher and assistant principal in Texas where she began her career in education in 1994, officials said. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from University of Texas at Austin and a Masters of Education in administration and supervision from University of Houston.

Barry Yates, who has worked in the district for 41 years, has come out of retirement to fill the post at Muir vacated by Komlos, serving on an interim basis.

Yates served as principal at Juan Cabrillo Elementary School from 2005 to 2012 and as interim principal in 2013. He began his career as a teacher at the Malibu school, where he taught fourth to sixth graders for 28 years.

Yates, who served as assistant principal at Franklin Elementary School from 1999 to 2005, retired in 2012, but currently mentors intern principals for the District’s PTA Summer Adventure program and has served as vice chair of the special education district advisory committee since 2012.

“I appreciate the opportunity to return to Santa Monica and join the John Muir Elementary community,” Yates said. “As a teacher and administrator with SMMUSD for many years, I look forward to working closely with the teachers and staff, getting to know and support the children and being a resource for families.

“John Muir maintains high standards, is a great place for kids and I’m excited to be a part of that,” he added.

Debbie Stern, a newcomer to the district, is serving as the new assistant principal at McKinley Elementary School, officials said. Stern has worked for Los Angeles area schools for more than 25 years and served as principal at Arts in Action Community Charter School in Los Angeles.

She has been a 4th grade teacher at Westside Neighborhood School in Playa Vista, lead teacher at Citizens of the World Charter School and a teacher at Santa Monica Boulevard Community Charter School, according to District officials.

She also has taught at Pepperdine University, Cal State Dominguez Hills and UCLA and held other teaching and leadership positions in the Los Angeles area, officials said.

Stern holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Pitzer College, a Master of Arts in education from Pepperdine University and a Master of Arts in school leadership from Cal State Northridge, according to District officials.

"I am thrilled to be a part of SMMUSD, and could not be more delighted to join the McKinley Team,” Stern said. “I look forward to getting to know staff, students and families. Thank you for this terrific opportunity."

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