One current administrator has a new position and two long-time educators have joined the ranks of the administrative team at Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District for the start of the 2015-2016 school year.

Tristan Komlos has been appointed new “H” House principal for Samohi; Barry Yates will be the interim principal at John Muir Elementary School and Debbie Stern will be the new assistant principal at McKinley Elementary School. All appointments have been approved by the SMMUSD board of directors.

Tristan Komlos – House Principal, Santa Monica High School

Komlos has worked in the District since 2004, where she was a Samohi house principal for two years. She then served as principal of Lincoln Middle School from 2006-2008 and most recently as the principal of John Muir Elementary School since 2008. Komlos is excited to get back to her roots as a secondary-level educator. “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 Samohi in the future!”

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

Barry Yates – Interim Principal, John Muir Elementary School

Yates has a long history with SMMUSD, having worked in the district for 41 years in several capacities. He was principal at Juan Cabrillo Elementary School from 2005-2012, and the interim principal in 2013. He began his career as a teacher at Cabrillo where he taught grades 4-6 for 28 years. He served as assistant principal at Franklin Elementary School from 1999-2005. Yates retired in 2012, but currently mentors intern principals for the SMMUSD PTA Summer Adventure program, and has served as the 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.”

Debbie Stern – Assistant Principal (50 percent position), McKinley Elementary School

Stern comes to SMMUSD with more than 25 years teaching and administrative experience in the Los Angeles area. She has been a 4th grade teacher at Westside Neighborhood School in Playa Vista; principal at Arts in Action Community Charter School in Los Angeles; lead teacher at Citizens of the World Charter School; teacher at Santa Monica Boulevard Community Charter School; Adjunct professor or professor at Pepperdine University, Cal State Dominguez Hills and UCLA teacher education graduate program. She has previously held other teaching and leadership positions in the Los Angeles area.

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.

“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.”

Komlos, Yates and Stern have all started their new positions.


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