Parents, students, and teachers ‘Get the scoop’ from their new SMMUSD district leaders

Parents, students, community members, and Malibu Middle/High School leaders from SSMUSD joined Superintendent Sr. Antonio Shelton and MMS's new Principal Greg Schellenberg on Thursday, Aug. 31, for ice cream and conversation. Photos by Samantha Bravo/TMT

Malibu Middle and High School PTSA hosts ice cream social to welcome new district leaders

Parents, students, community members, and Malibu Middle/High School leaders from SMMUSD joined Superintendent Dr. Antonio Shelton and MMS’s new Principal Greg Schellenberg on Thursday, Aug. 31, for ice cream and conversation. 

Students enjoyed ice cream, games, and an opportunity to hear SMMUSD representatives share the goals they had for the semester.

Malibu Middle/High School PTSA President Kevin Keegan, welcomed the crowd and introduced the guest speakers.

“We are parent-led, we are teacher-focused, and we we are student-centered, and one of our initiatives this year is to boost the S (students) in PTSA,” Keegan said. 

Keegan also acknowledged the Malibu PTSA and the Malibu Shark Fund. 

Parents and community members can also donate to their Malibu Middle and High Shark Fund, the primary fundraising entity for MMS/MHS PTSA, Athletic Booster Club, Arts Angel, and administration. Their fundraising goal for the 2023-2024 school year is $437,200. 

Those interested in a board or volunteer positions, email

Malibu Schools Pathway Executive Director Isaac Burgess acknowledged Superintendent Dr. Antonio Shelton and welcomed him to the podium. 

“What I know about Antonio is that he is an individual of integrity, and I think that’s very important when you think about who is leading important systems such as school systems,” Burgess said. “He is passionate, he really believes in making connections, making connections with students, to ensure they have a sense of belonging and fully working hand in hand with teachers and staff and families and our entire school community, to make sure that our students have meaningful and relevant learning experiences.”

Shelton thanked the PTSA for their continuous efforts in supporting their students. 

“I am truly excited about this opporunity, we have a great school district that can even be better than we already are,” Shelton said. “If we can empower our students, teachers and, principals to be the best individuals they can be, we are doing our job. We do that by developing opportunities through curiosity.”

Shelton said they want everyone to have a sense of belonging and a sense of community.

“No one should feel isolated or left out, whether they were an adult or child,” Shelton said. “This year, I want to make sure that you know that we are together in this; every child is important, every student that walks into this space is important, we have work to do, absolutely, nothing is perfect, we will grow, we will learn, we will develop, and all I’m asking you to do is walk with me through this journey, let’s be one. We have great leaders here, that are facilitating that process and I’m here to listen and move forward with developing students to become leaders today, not tomorrow, I need us to start leading today because our students are the most important of what our future holds.”

Burgess acknowledged and thanked Councilmembers Paul Grisanti and Doug Stewart for attending the event. 

Burgess introduced Malibu High School Principal Patrick Miller to the podium. Miller acknowledged the teachers in attendance who have served 20 to 30 years in the school district. 

“Even if you don’t have kids in secondary schools, please join us for these events, the more you come to the concerts, the shows, the sporting events when your kids are in elementary school, the more comfortable they are when they get here,” Miller said. “We are a small school, in a small town, and both are getting smaller, but being in a small school but still offering everything we did when we we’re a big school, is a chance to be involved in everything, and that’s when I tell our kids to be involved in as much as they possibly can.”

Miller introduced new MMS Principal Greg Schellenberg to the podium where he shared his vision and focus for the year.

“Everything’s been great, the kids are amazing, people have been wonderfully warm and welcoming and I’m excited for the work to come,” Schellenberg said. “There will be an opportunity for the parents as part of the community to give input when we’re establishing independent core values and we’re establishing some of our priority and the culture of the community that we want to build and grow over time.”

After introductions and speeches, district staff, students, and parents gathered for more conversation and, of course, ice cream.

“It was wonderful just being able to connect with part of our school district, Malibu and seeing everyone come out and support and welcome not only me but Greg Schellenberg our new middle school principal,” Shelton said. “This is empowering to see that our PTSA is bringing together the community to not only allow our principals to share how they’re moving forward but also to welcome individuals that may not have not been involved in this school community — to the school community; so, i’m just ready to go, get started, put our best foot forward and embrace the things that we said we were going to do and create that sense of belonging for everyone that comes into our spaces.”

The U.S. News and World Report recently ranked Malibu and Santa Monica high schools in the top 4 percent for 2023 out of nearly 18,000 public schools in the nation and in the top 110 schools in California. Malibu High School ranked 93rd in the state and Santa Monica High School ranked 106th. Both schools moved up in the rankings from the prior year, reflecting hard work and efforts of SMMUSD educators.

In 2022, Malibu ranked 176 in the state and 1,170 in the country and Samohi ranked 108 in the state and 829 in the nation. Olympic High School is not included in this ranking.

U.S. News rankings are determined by college readiness scores, based on demographics, state test scores, and college prep exams.

U.S. News released its 2023 Best High Schools list this week, ranking Malibu High 660 and Samohi 736, nationally, while countywide rankings are 39 for Malibu and 45 for Santa Monica.

To create the rankings, U.S. News focused on six factors: college readiness, reading and math proficiency, reading and math performance, underserved student performance, college curriculum breadth, and graduation rates.

The City of Malibu Planning Commission held a public hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 5, on the District’s Coastal Development Permit (CDP) Application to build the new high school. In addition, the California Coastal Commission will review the City of Malibu’s Local Coastal Plan Amendment (LCPA), which will pave the way for the school projects to move forward on Friday, Sept. 8. Link to meeting is