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Santa Monica’s McKinley Elementary Welcomes New Principal

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By Lookout Staff

May 20, 2014 – A principal who oversaw large gains in test scores among challenging students in a Northern California School District has been hired to head McKinley Elementary.

During its Thursday meeting, the School Board approved the appointment of Dr. Susan Yakich as the new Principal of McKinley Elementary. Dr. Yakich has served four years as principal of Res Elementary School in El Dorado County.

During her tenure, scores for socio-economically disadvantaged students rose by 84 points and by 72 points for the students with disabilities, while English learners scored 70 points above the state average, District officials said. 

“As a hands-on leader and avid life-long learner, Dr. Yakich keeps current on best practices regarding improving literacy across the curriculum, alternative means to suspension (and) Professional Learning Communities,” District officials said in a statement..

She also has implemented “effective strategies to communicate with and involve parents and the community in the school experience, and has led her current district’s Elementary Common Core Curriculum Committee.”

Dr. Yakich started her career as a third grade teacher in Cleveland, Ohio. Afterwards, she moved to California, where she became a first grade teacher at the Baldwin Park Unified School District. 

She has also served as Principal and Assistant Principal with the Temecula Valley Unified School District as well as a Summer School Principal with the Temecula Valley and Baldwin Park Unified School Districts.

Her peers describe Dr. Yakich as a “hard-working professional educator,” who “consistently places the needs of students as her highest priority,” according to the District’s statement. 

Dr. Yakich is well-versed in analyzing student achievement data and best practices to drive decisions regarding instruction, goal development, resource allocation, intervention strategies, and professional development, said district officials.

Under her leadership, her former school earned the California Title I Academic Achievement Award in 2008, and Rescue Elementary was just named a California Distinguished School for 2014, according to district officials.

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