Visit Our Website

Superintendent's Newsletter

September 23, 2022

Dear MBUSD Parents and Community,

I hope this letter finds you well. Today’s newsletter highlights academics at Meadows, the Los Angeles County Office of Education Teachers of the Year announcement, and steps the MCHS community has taken to combat anti-Semitism.

Spotlight on Meadows (Special thanks to Meadows teachers and Principal Michelle Krzmarzick)

Meadows is enjoying the beginning of fall, with everything in full swing. In language arts, all teachers are working with students on writing personal narratives, which are stories that are true, meaningful, and close to their hearts. They are also working on reading fictional stories and fostering a love of reading. 

Pictured above is third grade teacher, Jenn Mascari, who is exploring a lesson that reminds students of how they felt when they read a book that they truly enjoyed. The class was so excited to share their reading stories. In math, students are working on place value, counting collections, and more as they deepen their understanding of number sense. Another area of focus has been Meadows’s school expectations of using SKORR (Safe, Kind, On Task, Responsible, Respectful) behaviors in every place at school and at home. School staff have also launched their new Social and Emotional Learning initiative, “Our Words are Powerful.”

MBUSD Staff Spotlight: Sherman Jones

Sherman is the Ground Supervisor at Robinson Elementary and has been serving MBUSD for more than 25 years. As a native of Manhattan Beach, he grew up in the city and attended MBUSD schools and says he’s grateful to work in his hometown. He wears many hats in the District: you can find him monitoring lunchtime, working at MBX’s after-school enrichment program, and the Extended Day Program.


Sherman is proud of the roles he has played throughout his career at MBUSD, which includes working in the Special Education Department as an Instructional Assistant-IBI Sub, a custodian, a crossing guard, a staff member at summer camps, and more! Sherman says he loves his job and the ability to support and help students is a good feeling.

He says he has been lucky enough to work at every grade level. Sherman enjoys getting up for work every day and there is never a day that he isn’t looking forward to it. He has worked with many amazing teachers and is inspired by how committed they are to motivating our students!

A fun fact about Sherman is that he is a bass player! He has been part of a heavy metal music band since the '80s!

Los Angeles County Office of Education Announces Teresa Nielsen as County Teacher of the Year!

We are so proud of Mira Costa's AP and Honors Chemistry teacher Teresa Nielsen! She was chosen as one of the sixteen Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) Teachers of the Year. Teresa went through a rigorous selection process to participate in this program. The teachers in the running for this title represented sixty-two Districts across Los Angeles County. 

Teresa received this esteemed recognition at the 41st Annual Los Angeles County Office of Education Teachers of the Year Awards Banquet held at the Universal City Hilton today. Mira Costa Principal, Karina Gerger, and District leadership joined me at the event. The LACOE Teachers of the Year Program is the largest local competition in the state and nation. It is part of the oldest and most prestigious honors contest in the U.S. for public school teachers. To participate in this program, teachers first must be selected by their district as Teacher of the Year. 

Teresa will now advance with other county honorees from around the state to the California Teachers of the Year competition this fall. Ms. Nielsen is also the Science Department Co-Chair at Mira Costa. She has served MBUSD for more than 10 years and we are so lucky to have her! Every day Teresa makes a profound impact on her students and makes a very challenging subject easier to learn.

Teachers who participated in the program were interviewed and submitted essays, lesson plans, and other materials to judging panels comprised of previous Teachers of the Year recipients. Watch the big announcement from the banquet here!

New Safety Platforms 

The District just launched additional digital safety and monitoring tools as an extra layer of protection. Bark is an important tool that monitors student internet activity and our new reporting tool, Sprigeo, will allow students and parents to easily report tips online. 


MBUSD also has in place GoGuardian and iboss platforms. GoGuardian monitors student activity online, filters content, and much more, while iboss provides secure internet access when using District devices and networks. 


Please visit our website here to learn more about each of these platforms we have in place at MBUSD

Pennekamp Elementary Vandalism Incident 

Racist and offensive graffiti was discovered at Pennekamp Elementary over the past weekend. It was reported to the Manhattan Beach Police Department and Principal Sharon Witzansky notified her community on Monday about the incident. 

A racist slur and an inappropriate image were sprayed on a wall above the cafeteria. MBPD is currently investigating this and is committed to finding the perpetrators who defaced our school with racist hate speech and an inappropriate image. Video cameras captured surveillance footage of potential suspects who were on school grounds at the same time the vandalism occurred. We have been working with the MBPD and hope anyone involved in this act will be held accountable.

It’s very disheartening and appalling that our elementary school was targeted. We condemn this disgraceful, hateful act and continue to work with our City partners and community to address the discriminatory incidents we are facing. There is no place for this in our schools or community. We want our staff and students to know that they are supported and cared for.

The incident has been reported to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). We ask that anyone who may have information come forward by contacting MBPD’s anonymous tip line at 310-802-5171.

MCHS Students and Community Create Video to Combat Anti-Semitism 

Students are joining us in taking action to combat anti-Semitism on our campuses and in our community. Please watch this powerful video that was presented to MCHS students this week during their homeroom class.

During the September 14 Board meeting, I addressed the recent anti-Semitic hate crimes at MCHS and shared with the community the steps we’ve already taken to combat these hateful acts from happening again. We will work tirelessly to provide safe school campuses where everyone is respected and supported. You can read my full message here, which includes the purchase of over $400,000 of surveillance camera systems for Mira Costa High School, Manhattan Beach Middle School and Robinson Elementary - all of our K-12 campuses now have or will have camera systems. 

Thank you to MCHS Principal, Dr. Karina Gerger, the Jewish Cultural Club, and Rabbi Yossi Mintz for being part of it. 

Watch CBS2 News Story on Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes at MBUSD

Campus Positivity Campaign Underway

MCHS students also came together to begin the Campus Positivity Campaign, an initiative that was created after the recent anti-Semitic hate crime on campus. The H.E.A.R.T Club is spearheading the movement and encouraging all students to participate. This week they created posters and hung them across campus as reminders to spread love and kindness. 

Students hope this is one step in combatting hate and discrimination on campus. The Jewish Cultural Club, Key Club, and Link Crew also took part in the activities.  

International Day of Peace


Board President Sally Peel, MCHS Principal Dr. Karina Gerger, and I celebrated International Day of Peace by attending the Stand 4 Peace event along with City officials and MBEF.

The event took place at the Manhattan Beach Peace Pole located on the greenbelt near Veterans Parkway and was a wonderful gathering. It was my second year participating and it was a powerful experience uniting our community once again to encourage everyone to live in peace and unity. Thank you to Karen Wooldridge and Pennekamp Elementary Teacher Donna Nicholson for leading this mission. 

The Peace Pole is one of more than 250,000 poles worldwide. Mira Costa High School also has a peace pole on campus. You can read more about the event here.

Meadows and Pennekamp Elementary also celebrated International Day of Peace on campus with special activities. Pennekamp teacher Donna Nicholson led students through a breathing exercise and discussed peace with students at their first school assembly. While at Meadows, students wrote their messages about peace on pinwheels, which were placed outside of the campus for everyone to see!

High School Voter Education Week At Mira Costa

Next week, our high school students will participate in promoting voter registration on campus with the League of Women Voters. This aligns with California Department of Education’s High School Voter Registration Weeks that is underway through September 30. 

The League of Women Voters will be on campus September 27 and 29 during office hours in the Mustang Mall to encourage students to pre-register/register. 

Costa staff have also been in touch with Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder County Clerk’s Office to potentially have a FLEX voting center on campus for students and staff. 

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. 

We have a MBUSD Personnel Commissioner position opening. Click here for more information and to apply.

A Personnel Commission is a nonpartisan public body responsible for the administration of a “merit system” for the selection, retention, and promotion of classified (non-certificated) employees in a public school district. 

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

Classified Job Opportunities

Certificated Job Opportunities

Latest COVID-19 Updates

You can find all of our COVID-19 information, guidance, and updates on our

District COVID-19 page. This is updated with new information as LACDPH guidelines and protocols change. 

Upcoming Events

Mira Costa PTSA Annual Tailgate Party - 1 Week Away! 

Deadline to purchase tickets is Wednesday, September 28. Get tickets here

Mira Costa Drama/Tech students are already preparing for their fall and spring shows! Click here for more information! Pre-sale tickets go on sale October 17.


Tickets are on sale now!

Saturday, November 5 | 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. | Mira Costa Auditorium

Good for the Mind! Explore the interactive Expo, sample delicious food & beverages, and enjoy new experiences shared with our community. Raci Levine, a junior of Mira Costa High School and President of the Jewish Cultural Club at MCHS is a speaker this year.

Student discounts are available.

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  

The next Superintendent Newsletter will be published on Friday, September 30. 

Thank you as always for your continued support and partnership. Have a wonderful weekend!


Dr. John Bowes
MBUSD Superintendent
Manhattan Beach Unified School District

325 S. Peck Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Contact Us
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram