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Superintendent's Newsletter

February 3, 2023

Dear MBUSD Parents and Community,

Today’s issue highlights Meadows Elementary, celebrating Black History Month at our campuses, and the District accepting applications for our Board of Trustees vacancy!

Spotlight on Meadows (Special thanks Lauren Walsh, Danielle Radl, Jan Kajiya, Debbie Cubillos, Holly Compton, and Principal Michelle Krzmarzick)

Students at Meadows are starting their second half of the year strong. They enjoyed a Spirit Rally on Thursday that celebrated mid-year accomplishments and Groundhog Day. Mustang Phil predicted six more weeks of winter!

In this update, the focus is on English Language Arts with a few other highlights. In writing, Meadows students in all grades are working on nonfiction reading and informational writing.

Students in Lauren Walsh’s first grade class worked on writing introductions to their informational pieces. In Danielle Radl’s kindergarten class, students in small groups practiced sound recognition and production, building on their reading foundation. Jan Kajiya’s second grade class was reading and writing about self-selected American Heroes in a workshop to celebrate President’s Day and Black History Month. The Writing Wall shows the different chapters they are adding to their writing. Lastly, Math TOSA Holly Compton worked with students on number talks in Debbie Cubillos’s second grade class.

Staff Spotlight: Cary Jordahl

This week we are featuring Cary Jordahl, who began his career at MBUSD in 2010. He is the Coordinator of Theater Operations and Facility Permits. If you have visited Mira Costa for any event, you may have seen him as he ensures everything from camera to sound is set for presentations, performances, and graduation!

You can also find Cary in the classroom as he has been teaching Technical Theater for the past 10 years to Mira Costa students. Cary was first hired to manage the performance venues and at that time the position was called Trades Specialist. After two years, a new position was created, which he now serves. 

Cary has a diverse background, experience, and knowledge in theater management, which he says made his current position the perfect fit. His favorite part about his job is teaching young artists about theater and how powerful of a tool it is for communicating. He enjoys working with the staff and students at Mira Costa. Cary says his biggest achievement is winning the Best High School Musical in Los Angeles County for the production of Oklahoma in 2017 at the Pantages. 

A Torrance resident, Cary and his wife have been running a theater in Torrance for the past 25 years. In his free time, he directs, designs, builds, and produces live theater! Also, a fun fact about Cary is that he enjoys baking almost as much as he likes eating baked goods!

MBUSD Board Vacancy 

We are now accepting applications to fill the fifth seat on our Board of Trustees. To serve on the Board, an individual must meet the eligibility requirements specified in Education Code section 35107 below:

  • The candidate must be at least 18 years of age
  • The candidate must be a resident of Manhattan Beach (and remain a resident for the duration of the term)
  • The candidate must be a citizen of California
  • The candidate must be a registered voter
  • The candidate must not be disqualified from holding a civil office
  • The candidate must be a person who is not disqualified by the Constitution or laws of the state from holding a civil office
  • The candidate must be eligible to be elected or appointed a member of a governing board of a school district without further qualifications

Interested candidates must complete an application packet, which can be found here, and submit it to the Superintendent’s Office by 4:00 p.m. on February 10. For all other information, please visit our website

Mental Health Resources and Services 

We are committed to promoting the health, safety, and well-being of our community including students, staff, and parents. To support this, we want to remind everyone that there are many resources available to support your mental health and wellness through our community partner Beach Cities Health District (BCHD). Some of the services you may access include the following:

  • If you or someone you know in the Beach Cities needs assistance with health-related information or referrals, please call the BCHD Assistance, Information, and Referral Line at 310-374-3426 and press option 1. It is open Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. You can also visit

  • The Beach Cities School Well-Being Line provides enhanced mental health support and helps navigate questions related to health and safety at school. To use this resource, call 310-374-3426 and press option 2, Monday – Thursday: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

For more health resources and services, please visit here.

The Making of Great Schools

If you missed the “The Making of Great Schools” event hosted by the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation this week, you can watch the full program below!

Learn about District initiatives, how MBEF and MBUSD partner, the criteria utilized to award MBEF grants, how stakeholder priorities impact programs, and the role MBEF has played in sustaining high-quality schools in MBUSD for the past 40 years.

Anti-Semitic Vandalism at MCHS

I am saddened to inform you of an anti-Semitic vandalism incident that took place on Tuesday at Mira Costa High School. Principal Dr. Karina Gerger shared a message with the Mira Costa community earlier this week in response to the incident. As said in her message, we continue to take these incidents seriously.

A student found a drawn swastika in a bathroom stall. The vandalism has been reported to the Manhattan Beach Police Department (MBPD) and the hateful symbol was removed by maintenance staff.


This behavior is unacceptable and does not reflect the values of MBUSD. We are dedicated to providing a welcoming environment for our students and staff. The new surveillance video camera system at Mira Costa is being installed and is intended to help deter these horrible acts from taking place. We are asking parents/guardians to have a dialogue with your children about these types of incidents and assist us in educating our students to fully understand the meaning of this hateful symbol and all that it represents. 

At Manhattan Beach Unified, we will continue to provide an inclusive, welcoming, and safe environment at all of our campuses and facilities. As always, if you hear anything about this incident, please contact MBPD.

'All-Around Superstar': Manhattan Beach Star Student

MANHATTAN BEACH, CA- Star Students are found in classrooms, on concert and theater stages and at debate lecterns, and out in the community doing good things to make life better for all of us. Here at Patch, we've launched an initiative to help recognize Star Students, and we're working to tell the stories of these outstanding kids to their neighbors.

Read More

Costa Student Selected for Esteemed Band

Congratulations to Mira Costa 11th grader Gordon Whitlow for being selected to join the 2023 Honor Band of America! We are so proud! He will be representing our District at the “Music for All National Festival.” The band is one of three ensembles consisting of a Concert Band, Jazz Band, and Orchestra. 

Gordon plays the tuba in the Wind Symphony Ensemble at Mira Costa under the direction of Joel Carlson and was selected among hundreds of applicants. He submitted a recorded audition and recording as part of the process to apply.

The festival will take place in Indianapolis, Indiana at the end of March and Mallory Thompson, the Director of Bands for Northwestern University, will be conducting it. The band is known to be the nation’s finest student concert honor band.

Mira Costa Model United Nations (MUN) Team Brings Home Win

This week, Mira Costa Model United Nations (MUN) students Akash Mishra, Aidan Tacinelli, and Lily Stern presented at the Board meeting, sharing their experiences from the recent Yale Model United Nations trip and also showcasing their awards.

The four-day event brought together nearly 2,000 delegates from more than 40 countries. During the award ceremony, ten Mira Costa students won first place gavels. 

The team also brought home the best large delegation win! So impressive! 

Stay up to date with Mira Costa MUN’s adventures on Instagram.

February is Black History Month and it's a time to recognize and honor the many historical achievements and contributions of African Americans. Our schools throughout the month are hosting events across campuses and participating in activities to commemorate Black History Month.

Grand View Elementary on February 8 from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. is hosting a celebration with food trucks, crafts, music, and more! At MBMS, the theme for the month is Hidden Figures. MBMS students and staff are encouraged to learn about African American figures. Students will also participate in an annual Black History Month Door Decorating Contest. 

Mira Costa is in its 10th year hosting Black History Month celebrations. They will be honoring African Americans through the decades with a campus-wide assembly. Students and staff will share music, poetry, fashion, games, food, and historical events.

In honor of the upcoming National Counseling Week, we want to thank all of our school counselors and the tremendous impact they have on our students’ lives to assist them in achieving success, personal/social development, and career readiness. 

We are fortunate at MBMS there are six counselors and at Mira Costa there are nine counselors and three college and career counselors. 

We appreciate your dedication to students and their families! The 2023 theme this year is “School Counselors: Helping Students Dream Big."

Makerspace Feature: Robinson Elementary

This week we are spotlighting Makerspace at Robinson Elementary! 5th graders in Lori Desmond and Theresa Scott's classes based their in-class project on a recent reading of the book Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.

Students were instructed to build items that the main character, Brian Robeson, had to use to survive. Each group was given a different challenge, shelter, protection, emergency kit, a raft, or something for hunger or thirst. Check out their amazing ideas!

Complimentary Tickets to the 2023 LA Sevens Rugby Tournament

We are excited to announce that MBUSD is partnering with LA Sevens Rugby to offer all staff and students two free tickets for the 2023 LA Sevens Rugby Tournament and Championship at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The tournament takes places on Saturday, February 25th or Sunday, February 26th. The official amateur rugby tournament has teams participating from across the nation and the world to play rugby and compete in the World Series event. 

If you are a student/staff member at MBUSD, you are eligible to receive two free tickets per MBUSD email. The promo code can only be used once to redeem two complimentary tickets. In order to take advantage of this offer, students must use their account and staff members must use their email. 

To select tickets, visit here and use the promo code “MBUSD” to redeem the tickets with a $5.44 processing fee per ticket.

There is also the opportunity to upgrade or add-on tickets at a discounted cost. We hope you take advantage of this opportunity! 

MBUSD District App Now Live!

Don't forget to download the MBUSD app to stay connected with the latest news and information. It has been customized to our community's needs. You can access information instantly, and users will be able to receive push notifications from the District and school sites they choose to follow on the app.

The app provides a mobile-friendly version of the information most frequently accessed on the school district’s website and each school site. The app is free to download and you can find it in the Apple or Google Play store by searching for “Manhattan Beach Unified” or “MBUSD.” You can learn more about the app here

Watch a video on how to install app!

Upcoming Events!

Mira Costa Music Experience

You are invited! All incoming 9th graders and their families will have the unique opportunity to learn about the Mira Costa music experience. Click here to reserve a spot.

Join the MBUSD Family!

We are hiring classified and certificated staff. We’re looking for individuals with a passion for helping students discover the joys of learning and creating a safe and engaging learning environment. If you are looking for a meaningful career, with excellent benefits, flexibility, and stability, MBUSD is the place for you! 

Click the links below to learn about the variety of MBUSD job openings currently available.

Classified Job Opportunities

Certificated Job Opportunities

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The next Superintendent's Newsletter will be published on Friday, February 10. 


Dr. John Bowes
MBUSD Superintendent
Manhattan Beach Unified School District

325 S. Peck Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
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