New Principal Named for McKinley Elementary School

She Began Her Career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Rural Schools

The Santa Monica-Malibu School District approved the appointment of Daniela Wiener as the new principal of McKinley Elementary School.

Wiener brings an extensive educational background, serving as the 50% assistant principal at both McKinley Elementary and Grant Elementary in SMMUSD since 2021. Previously, she held roles as an instructional coach for seven years across various elementary schools within the district, including McKinley Elementary, Franklin Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary, and Edison Language Academy.

With over two decades of experience in education, Wiener began her career as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural schools in Honduras. Her tenure includes work in the New York City Department of Education as a dual immersion teacher, lead teacher, and instructional coach. Additionally, she contributed to international education policy initiatives for Latin America and Africa under the United States Agency for International Development.

Wiener holds bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and linguistics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, along with master’s degrees in international education policy from Harvard University and childhood education with a focus on bilingual education from City University of New York, Hunter College. Currently pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership at the University of Southern California, she specializes in educational psychology, expecting graduation this spring. Wiener is proficient in English, Spanish, and Czech languages.

Expressing gratitude for the opportunity, Wiener stated, “I am honored to assume the role of McKinley Elementary’s next principal. Leading this community is more than a responsibility; it’s an incredible privilege. The school’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion deeply aligns with my own values, and I am eager to advocate for these principles while fostering a learning environment that nurtures curiosity, inclusivity, and empowerment for each student.”

Wiener succeeds Dr. Ashley Benjamin, who assumed the position of Director of Curriculum and Instruction for SMMUSD in October.

in News, Upbeat
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