SANTA MONICA/MALIBU—The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District announced  Dr. Ben Drati as their new superintendent on Thursday, November 3.

Dr. Ben Drati, an education administrator from Santa Barbara Unified School District, has served as the assistant superintendent of secondary education since 2012. Under his management, diversity and cultural inclusiveness are highly valued within the school culture. He created a school environment where students feel respected with the aid of the school faculties. He has also involved all stakeholders in addressing issues of disproportionality and overseeing the development of the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP).

Board members of SMMUSD paid a visit to a special board meeting at the Santa Barbara Unified School District on October 27. The meeting was an opportunity to get acquainted with Drati’s colleagues and evaluate him as a candidate for superintendent.

“I can’t wait to get started,” Dr. Drati said following the board appointment. “My first task is to go out and meet people at our schools and in the community. I am committed to keeping the interest of children as my highest priority. I will work collaboratively with the board, teachers, classified staff and parents, and commit to serving as a worthy ambassador of SMMUSD to the world.”

He earned a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Fresno State University, where he played football. He has a single-subject credential in chemistry and Master of Art and administrative credential in education leadership from National University; and a doctorate in education leadership from Fresno State University.

“We are thrilled with Dr. Drati’s appointment and look forward to working with him. We are confident that his leadership skills, passion and energy will guide our students, parents, staff and community toward a successful future,” said Laurie Lieberman, board president. “I would like to congratulate him on his new position and welcome him to SMMUSD on behalf of our board.”

Drati’s arrival serves as a replacement to Sandra Lyon, the former superintendent of SMMUSD who left for the same position at Palm Springs Unified School District in May. Drati will take on his new role on January 1, 2017.

Written By John Hui and Casey Jacobs