Dr. Antonio Shelton Named New SMMUSD Superintendent


The following is a copy of a letter sent to SMMUSD families. Dr. Sheldon has agreed to sit down with the What’s Next podcast this summer.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education approved the appointment of Antonio M. Shelton, Ed.D., as the SMMUSD superintendent, effective July 1, 2023. The school board made the announcement at the June 1 regular meeting following an extensive months-long national search.

Dr. Shelton brings 23 years of educational experience to the position, with 18 years in administrative roles. For the past year, he has served SMMUSD as the executive director, secondary schools, and previously was the lead principal of Santa Monica High School for six years. He has concurrently taught instructional improvement for the USC doctorate program in educational leadership.

Dr. Shelton is known as a highly intelligent and innovative leader who is constantly seeking to improve educational outcomes for students. He has a deep understanding of the challenges facing TK-12 public education and is committed to finding creative solutions that consider the diverse perspectives of educational partners, while maintaining the focus on meeting the needs of all students. His leadership style incorporates care and compassion for others, while supporting a creative and collaborative learning environment where students and staff members may reach their full potential.

In his current position of executive director, Dr. Shelton has been responsible for consistent support, mentoring, and coaching of principals as they lead their sites toward the District’s vision and goals while supporting the defined autonomy afforded to the individual schools in shaping and meeting the overall District vision for student success. Dr. Shelton is well-versed in overseeing comprehensive budgets and is committed to sound fiscal stewardship, transparency and working with educational partners to build upon the exemplary foundation currently in place. Additionally, Dr. Shelton supports the assistant superintendent of human resources and participated on the negotiations team regarding certificated and classified bargaining units.

Prior to SMMUSD, Dr. Shelton served as principal of the top 100 US News ranked Indian Hill High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, for five years from 2011-2016; assistant principal for curriculum and instruction at William Mason High School in Mason, Ohio from 2009 to 2011 and assistant principal at Sycamore High School in Cincinnati from 2004 to 2009. Dr. Shelton began his teaching career in 1998 teaching honors United States and world history along with government and African American history. He has previous experience as an adjunct teacher and facilitator for graduate level courses in educational leadership, curriculum development, social justice, school finance, school law and human resources administration in education, for University of Cincinnati, Ohio, School Administration Academy for Educators.

“I am truly excited and humbled to serve as superintendent of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District,” said Dr. Shelton. “I want to thank the school board for trusting me to lead this wonderful district. It is an honor to have been chosen to lead a district that is on the move in a positive direction. I envision a journey ahead with collaboration and community built on trust between myself and the educational partners of SMMUSD. I look forward to leading the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District community, its faculty, staff, and students to greater heights.”  

Dr. Shelton holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Hampton University; a Master of Arts in social studies with an emphasis in social studies, psychology, political science and sociology from Ohio State University; a Masters of Art in educational administration from the University of Cincinnati and a received a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Kentucky.

“Following an arduous national search with the assistance of our consulting firm, Leadership Associates, we reviewed 35 applications and held in-person interviews with top candidates, Dr. Antonio Shelton rose to the top and was selected by the Board,” said Board President Maria Leon-Vazquez. “Our communities are special and demand the best, and so does the Board. We welcome Dr. Shelton into his new role as the superintendent for SMMUSD. We are looking forward to him hitting the ground running leading SMMUSD through the 21st-century while planning for the 22nd-century.”

Dr. Shelton looks forward to engaging and collaborating with community supporters and partners including the Santa Monica-Malibu PTA Council and units, Santa Monica-Malibu Classroom Teachers Association, Service Employees International Union, Santa Monica Education Foundation, Malibu fundraising entities, Santa Monica and Malibu Chambers of Commerce, City of Santa Monica, City of Malibu and law enforcement agencies, along with non-profit organizations serving youth and families.

Watch Dr. Shelton’s video message: https://bit.ly/SheltonSuptIntro060123 

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