“I have worked with Mr. Stewart since 2017 when he was a teacher at Beverly Hills High School,” Superintendent Dr. Michael Bregy said in a statement. “Shortly thereafter he was appointed Assistant Principal and most recently, co-principal. Over the past six years, he has demonstrated exemplary leadership qualities, an unwavering commitment to our community, and above all he has built a foundation of trust through genuine relationships with students, staff, and parents…there is no better candidate to helm Beverly Hills High School.”
The school board and superintendent worked together closely to identify Stewart as the high school’s next principal. Stewart, who will assume the position in July, holds a master’s degree in education, teaching and learning from Point Loma Nazarene University and a bachelor’s degree in political Science from the University of California, San Diego.
For the 2022-2023 school year, Stewart, along with Kim Decatrel, were named interim co-principals after former Principal Mark Mead became the school district’s director of safety.
Stewart’s appointment is the culmination of a year-long and “rigorous” search and vetting process, according to Bregy. A consulting firm, community members, alumni, parents, staff and board leadership were involved.
The school board announced his hiring during a two-hour meeting on May 9, with Board President Noah Margo calling it a “celebratory” moment.
“We are so pleased to have Mr. Drew Stewart joining our administration team with his terrific staff,” Margo said.
The latest school board meeting began on a more somber note, however, as the board president led a moment of silence commemorating schoolgirls in Iran who were victimized by a mass poisoning.
With the bulk of the meeting focused on the work of school faculty and students, the board approved proclaiming the week of May 7-13 as “National PTA Teacher Appreciation Week.” The week is set aside to honor the district’s outstanding teaching staff.
The board also approved the proclamation of “Classified School Employee Appreciation Week” from May 21-27, a week set aside to recognize secretaries, clerks, instructional assistants, custodians and other support service employees.
“We have a deep debt of gratitude to you for all the passion and care you give our children,” Board Member and Clerk Mary Wells said. “So, thank you very much.”
During the “Student Spotlight” segment, the board recognized seventh-grader Simon Johnson, highlighting his achievements in cross country. Johnson, a BHUSD faculty member said, can run a mile in approximately six minutes—no small feat. Additionally, the board celebrated eighth grader Iana Ahn, who was named an international Tae Kwon Do champion.
“It looks like we have half of the Justice League in our room right now,” Margo joked.
Beverly Vista Middle School social studies teacher April Silva delivered a thorough presentation on Claim, Evidence and Reasoning (CER) writing and how it is being incorporated into curriculums at Beverly Vista Middle School. Its implementation has led to higher-quality writing among students, according to Beverly Vista instructors. Students, meanwhile, said CER has improved their critical thinking skills.
The recurring “Now Noah Knows” portion of the meeting, a prerecorded video with Margo, featured Beverly Vista history teacher Marissa Long.
Midway through the meeting, the board unanimously approved the purchase of two educational services products, i-Ready, which provides data about the instructional needs of students, along with NEWA’s Measure of Academic Progress, an assessment tool for determining achievement and growth in K-12 math, reading, language usage and science.
The cost of i-Ready is $56,213, and the cost of NEWA’s Measure of Academic Progress is $56,277.
In connection with the ongoing construction projects of several BHUSD facilities, including the high school and El Rodeo Elementary School, the school board approved an amendment increasing the project budget by $810,000, through the end of fiscal year 2024-2025, for construction work performed by Sandy Pringle Associates, a Division of State Architect inspection services firm. The fee will be paid out of Measure BH.
Bregy, meanwhile, gave an update on the district’s strategic plan, and Wells provided a preview of upcoming programs and events in the district. She spoke of, among other things, May being Mental Health Awareness Month.
In concluding remarks, Margo said he was heartened by the latest meeting’s emphasis on issues happening inside of the district’s schools.
“I was very proud of us tonight,” the school board president said. “We spent over an hour on kids, teachers and education. When the board is focused on those things in their work, it reflects back into the schools in the communities, so I applaud my colleagues tonight in indulging in our collective focus on education and what’s going on in our schools.”