Paula Lytz was confirmed Thursday as the new principal of John Muir Elementary School during the Santa Monica-Malibu Board of Education meeting last week.

Lytz, a bilingual educator who arrives after a short stint as assistant principal at Lincoln Middle School, had previously served as an assistant principal at K-8 school in Marin County.

“I am so excited to be joining the close-knit community at John Muir Elementary, and I am eager to get to know the children, staff, and parents,” Lytz said in a press release.

Lytz has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish educator from Ohio State University and a master’s in educational leadership from the University of Cincinnati.

Lytz replaces Barry Yates, who was serving as John Muir’s principal in an interim capacity.

Yates, who retired in 2012 after 41 years in the district, still mentors up-and-coming administrators. The former Juan Cabrillo Elementary teacher and principal was filling in briefly at John Muir following the departure of Tristan Komlos, who has returned to Samohi as a house principal after serving as principal at John Muir for seven years.

“I have enjoyed the close relationships formed at Muir, and will miss the students and staff,” Komlos said in a press release. “I look forward to seeing Muir students at Samohi in the future.”

Komlos, a Texas native, studied English and education at the University of Texas before earning a master’s in education from the University of Houston.

She joined the district in 2004 and was instrumental in the establishment of Samohi’s house system.

She then took over for Kathy Scott as principal of Lincoln Middle School in 2006 but was transferred to John Muir in 2008 following the arrest of then-Lincoln teacher Thomas Arthur Beltran on child molestation charges.

Martha Duran-Contreras, the principal at John Muir before Komlos, is now teaching 2nd grade at Will Rogers Learning Community, according to the school website’s staff directory.

Other additions

SMMUSD has hired a new personnel administrator and a new food services director.

The appointments of Michael Cool and Elizabeth Powell were officially announced at the local school board’s meeting earlier this month.

Cool, the new director of classified personnel, joins SMMUSD after five years as a personnel analyst at Santa Monica College.

Cool previously spent time working in the Bassett and Inglewood school districts.

He completed undergraduate coursework at UC Davis before earning a master’s in industrial and organizational psychology from Cal State Long Beach.

Powell, meanwhile, was confirmed as the district’s new director of food and nutrition services.

She arrives after 11 years in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District, where she oversaw food programming for more than 15,000 students at 20 elementary and junior high schools and ran more than a dozen kitchens.

Powell, who studied nutrition at Cal Poly Pomona, implemented a rotating menu system with a focus on healthy fare and upgraded the Santa Maria district’s application system for free and reduced-price meals.

jeff@www.smdp.com

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