Weekly roundup: Marina High leader named principal of the year, Westminster High adds beekeeping program, and more

Marina High School Principal Morgan Smith has been named Secondary Principal of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators.

As the Daily Pilot reported, Smith returned to Marina this year after serving as assistant principal of Fountain Valley High from 2015 through 2021. Before that, he was principal at Dwyer Middle School for five years and assistant principal at Costa Mesa High School for three years.

ACSA logo

“I still have a bit of nostalgia,” Smith told the Pilot. “When you’re a first-year teacher, you remember the names and faces of all of your students. That was your first batch; those are your kids. The first thing I did (upon returning) was pull up a yearbook from 2002. It feels so nice to be at Marina. It feels like I’m coming home.”

ACSA was established in 1971 and serves more than 17,000 California educators. The association annually spotlights top administrators and partners at the regional and state levels.

Smith is set to be formally honored in November at an ACSA state conference in San Diego. Regional ASCA winners from Orange County, including OCDE Alternative Education Principal Machele Kilgore, will be celebrated May 9 at the Irvine Marriott.

And here are some other school-related stories from the week ending April 15:

  • What’s the buzz at Westminster High School? Well, as the Orange County Register reported, students there have established California’s first beekeeping program at the high school level thanks to a collaboration with the Community Action Partnership of Orange County and startup funds from the USDA. The idea is to create a sanctuary for six queen bees and 60,000 worker bees to live, work and eventually produce honey and other bee-related products.
  • School attendance review boards from four Orange County school districts have been designated as model programs by the state for practices that have helped reduce chronic absenteeism rates and improve student attendance.
  • And finally, a new gymnasium and soccer field are the last pieces of a $72 million fundraising campaign for Samueli Academic, an innovative public charter school with a focus on helping foster youth. “Done,” said Anthony Saba, Samueli’s executive director. “The campus is now complete.”

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