On her first day as a first-grade teacher, Maureen Bradford probably didn’t know she was starting a 38-year stint with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.
But when she attended the education board’s meeting Tuesday, she couldn’t help but come to terms with the reality that a career that began in 1976 is coming to an end.
Bradford, who has since held several administrative positions in the district, is retiring at the end of the month and was recognized by SMMUSD officials for her service and dedication to local schools.
“I’ve grown up in the district,” she said, fighting tears. “It’s been an absolute pleasure to serve the board and all the teachers.”
Bradford started as a bilingual classroom teacher at Will Rogers Elementary School. She assisted with a variety of site programs, including the implementation of the school’s Title I program, mentored new teachers as she gained experience and coordinated staff development in literacy and technology. She became the assistant principal of the school in 1998 and took over as principal in 2000.
For the last seven years she’s worked as the district’s director of assessment, research and evaluation. SMMUSD has named Evan Bartelheim as her replacement.
Student services director Mark Kelly praised Bradford for maintaining “a teacher’s heart” even as she climbed into administrative positions.
Board member Maria Leon-Vazquez noted that her kids were students at Rogers Elementary during Bradford’s tenure.
“The teachers who were there under your direction are now leaders and directors,” Leon-Vazquez said. “And I’m deeply appreciative for the many kids you helped along the way.”
Newly appointed board member Ralph Mechur said Bradford ushered the district into an era of data and evidence-based practice.
“She provided the community and the board with clearer information that lets us know how our kids are doing and has informed policy decisions,” he said.
Terry Deloria, the district’s assistant superintendent for educational services, showed the board a video in which district officials sang a heartfelt tribute to Bradford to the tune of The Beatles’ “Let It Be” entitled “Maureen B.”
“I’m eternally grateful for all you’ve done,” board president Laurie Lieberman said. “We’ve been very fortunate to have had you.”
Contact Jeff Goodman by phone at 310-573-8351, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter.