New Malibu High Principal Chosen

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Dr. Brandon Gallagher

The principal’s office at Malibu High School (MHS) has a new name on its door as of July 1, when Dr. Brandon Gallagher took over from the interim MHS principal, Dave Jackson, who headed back into retirement.

Gallagher was appointed to the position during a special meeting of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) that took place Monday night, June 29, during which time former MHS Spanish teacher Patrick Miller was also tapped to take over as an assistant principal in charge of Malibu Middle School (MMS), a position vacated by Christopher Regan.

“I am excited to be joining the Malibu community and look forward to continuing the tradition of success at Malibu High School,” Gallagher said in a statement released by the SMMUSD.

According to the release, Gallagher comes to Malibu from Hawaii, where he served as the principal of Keonepoko Elementary School in Pahoa since 2014.

Prior to being a school administrator in Hawaii, Gallagher spent 11 years in Santa Paula, Calif., working for the Briggs School District, including serving as principal of Briggs School from 2005-07.

Following in the footsteps of Jackson could prove a challenge for Gallagher, since Jackson worked hard to strengthen the ties between MHS and the community, as illustrated by his warm reception at the June 8 City Council Meeting.

“Mr. Jackson restored confidence in Malibu High School … and put the well-being of students above all else,” said Mayor Pro Tem Laura Rosenthal, presenting Jackson with a commendation at the Monday meeting.

The search for Jackson’s replacement went on for months and drew from a wide pool of qualified candidates, according to District spokespeople.

“For the principal of Malibu High School, we are looking for an experienced educational leader who will embrace the Malibu parent and student communities, and continue to strengthen partnerships with the City of Malibu and other local agencies,” Superintendent Sandra Lyon wrote in a letter sent to Malibu parents in June.

It appears that the District found a fit in Gallagher.

“Brandon will be a valuable addition to our district leadership team,” Lyon said in the statement released by the SMMUSD Monday. “I would like to congratulate him on his new position.”

The District drew from much closer to home in its selection for MHS assistant principal, choosing a veteran teacher from MHS and recent A.E. Wright Middle School assistant principal.

Miller, who has been assistant principal of A.E. Wright Middle School in Calabasas since 2013, was a Spanish teacher for grades six to 12 at MHS from 2007 to 2013.

“What brings me back to Malibu High are my connections to the school and to the kids, and my firm belief that Malibu High’s potential is incredible,” Miller said in a statement provided by the SMMUSD.

Miller was highly regarded during his time teaching in Malibu, where in 2013 he was awarded the “Staff Star Award” from the Malibu High Faculty Advisory Committee and outstanding teacher recognition from Malibu Middle School. In 2012, he received an Honorary Service Award from Malibu High School PTSA. 

“There are many exciting and positive things going on in regards to academics, athletics, extra and co-curriculars at Malibu High School and I look forward to working alongside of and supporting the staff to continue to create the best learning environment possible,” Miller said in the statement.

Both Miller’s and Gallagher’s appointments are effective July 1.