James Spellman


St. Monica High School kicks off the new school year on August 21, where students and faculty will welcome new principal James Spellman.

Former principal Michele Rice worked at SMCHS in a variety of administrative and student support roles for two decades, including the past two years as principal. She now continues her support of students as a program director for Onward Scholars, working closer to home.

“It is exciting to have a new leader with outside perspective and a proven track record of successfully leading teachers and curricular leaders toward innovative solutions for today’s students,” said St. Monica School President, Thom Gasper.

Spellman has years of experience. He has served as an administrator at Catholic high schools for more than 15 years and prior to joining St. Monica as principal, he was assistant principal at Immaculate Heart High School & Middle School in Los Angeles from 2011 to 2017. During his time at Immaculate Heart, Spellman led the professional development of teachers and improved the academic and behavioral performance of students.

Spellman holds a Masters Degree in Secondary School Administration from Loyola Marymount University, a Master of Arts in Middle and Secondary Education from New York City College, and Bachelor of Arts in History from Marist College.

In a recent press release Spellman said, “I am excited to joining St. Monica, a school that lives its mission and creates a cohesive educational experience. Within the safe and inclusive community of SMCHS, it is my belief that all of our students can and will achieve their highest potential.”

With a new principal many parents and faculty members are wondering what to expect this new school year.

Within the first year Spellman goal is to become more familiar with the schools history, the schools community and its students. While also building relationships with parents and engaging with the greater Santa Monica community.

“Spellman is looking forward to expanding current course offerings in the area of STEM and in the arts,” said SMCHS Director of Marketing Communications, Pamela Coe. “Given his commitment to progressive education, he is excited about collaborating with the school’s strong faculty to meet the needs of diverse learners.”

Spellman is not the only new member to the SMCHS team. This year the high school also welcomes Monica Davis, Director of Innovative Learning, Grant Conboy who will be teaching Studio Arts and Nathaniel Albers who will be teaching Chemistry and helping to develop the schools STEM offerings.