Dr. Skon brings over 14 years of experience starting as a Middle School Math teacher, later becoming a Common Core Site Lead at Laguna Beach Unified School District, 3 years of district-level leadership at Saddleback Valley Unified School District, and most recently the Assistant Principal at Fountain Valley High School.
Superintendent, Dr. Michael Bregy, remarked “Dr. Skon’s passion for excellence in education, building community culture and school spirit were clear on paper but after seeing her interact with students, observe classrooms and share insightful perspectives at BVMS last Friday, I can honestly say that we have found the right person to lead Beverly Vista Middle School. It is important to note her impressive experience at both the school site and district level enabling her ability to balance the considerable responsibilities required of a Middle School Principal. I am extremely grateful to our dedicated panelists who participated in two full days of our comprehensive BVMS Principal search. BHUSD is excited to welcome Dr. Skon to the BVMS community.”
Dr. Skon holds a Doctorate in Philosophy from Chapman University, a Masters of Arts in Education from Vanguard University of Southern California, and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Chapman University, Orange, as well as gaining professional credentials and training from Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Association of California School Administrators and Azusa Pacific University amongst several other notable achievements. Dr. Skon will assume the position in July.
In addition to her work in education, Dr. Skon enjoys golfing with friends, reading a book at the beach, and taking her dog Lexi for walks. Dr. Skon has three siblings - an older brother and sister, and an identical twin! Her twin's name is Heather and looks just like her. Both Dr. Skon and her brother, Brett, have followed the family tradition of being in education. Their grandmother graduated in 1933 from UCLA with a degree in education and spent her life dedicated as a reading specialist.
Dr. Skon commented: “I am delighted and humbled by the opportunity to join the team at Beverly Vista Middle School and the community of Beverly Hills. As the newest member of the BVMS family, I am eager to meet all the students, parents, guardians, teachers, and staff to develop a lasting relationship. Together we will continue the envisioned dream of creating a thriving middle school campus in Beverly Hills Unified School District.”
Mike Morrison was born in Rolla Missouri. He is a proud University of Missouri Tiger and received his teaching credential from Cal State Northridge. He lives in Mar Vista with his wife, Marcia, and close to his son, Reed, and daughter-in-law Yuko and his grandchildren, Jens and Aska. Michael has taught English for 28 years in the BHUSD, 26 at Horace Mann and for the last 2 at BVMS.
Michael has a great life outside of teaching which will surely serve him well in retirement. He plays guitar and sings for the band, The Train Wreckers, and writes the original music they play.
When I asked him what he has enjoyed the most about teaching, he went straight to the student centered response I would expect from him - he loves seeing the light go on when kids see what an author is trying to convey and how it relates to their lives. He loves watching students take control of the conversation around literature in his classroom and joining in with them as just another student learning something new. He says that the students teach him something new every day. As an administrator, I can honestly say that what I have enjoyed the most about Michael is the incredible rapport that he maintains with his students!
When I asked Michael about his plans in retirement, he immediately went to splitting his time between New Hampshire and Venice beach. Oh to be bicoastal!! You're living the dream Michael!! In addition he looks forward to fulfilling his role as a soccer grand-dad for his grandchildren.
When I asked Michael if he had any words of wisdom he wanted to share, he gave me two quotes:
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be” - Abraham Lincoln
“He who teaches learns twice as much” - Horace (not the Mann Horace but the Roman one)
I’d say these two quotes pretty much sum up Michael Morrison. BVMS will miss your smile, positive energy and infectious laugh! Good luck Michael!!
Cindy was hired in January of 1998 as a secretary at Beverly High in house D and says that from the start, she felt a warm welcome in the BHUSD. A year and a half later, she moved to her new home as the office manager at Beverly Vista and claims it has been a party ever since!
When I asked Cindy what she has enjoyed most about working at Beverly Vista, she said that it has been watching students come in in kindergarten and seeing them through 8th grade with all of the changes they make along the way.
Cindy is one of the dyed in the wool Bulldogs and celebrates all that Beverly Vista has to offer, both as a K8 and now as a Middle School. She attends concerts, carnivals, talent shows and plays and seldom misses an event. Perhaps her favorite memories come every year on October 31st when she and her partner in crime, Andi Barron, collaborate on their halloween costumes and decorate the front office!
Cindy is not simply an employee of the district but calls it home. Both of her sons, Josh and Matthew are products of the BHUSD.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Cindy credits a lot of the fun she has had in the district to the relationship that she shares with her best friend, Co-Apple Award winner and absolute partner in crime, Andi who she has worked with for over 20 years! She will also dearly miss all of the friends and close relationships she has forged over the years with teachers, parents, staff and students. She is one of those people who loves everyone and everyone lover her back!
When asked about her plans after retirement, Cindy said she looks forward to doing some hiking, biking, traveling and enjoying her new home in the desert (and hopefully having some cocktails with me!)
Asked if she had any words of wisdom to share, she said, “Life is short, enjoy every moment, treasure every day!” Cindy, BVMS will miss your smile in the front office every day! Good luck!
Mark was hired by Beverly Hills USD in 1993, as the 7th grade math teacher at Beverly Vista, when Nadine Breuer was principal, and Sol Levine was superintendent. In 1994, he was asked to be the 8th grade math teacher, where he worked closely with the 8th grade English teacher, Merle Bauer who remains a close friend to this day.
Mark has a strong commitment to developing the critical thinking skills of his students. He engages them in a series of math competitions, including the AMC-8, which remains an important component of his program to this day. He also coaches the MathCounts teams that have represented Beverly Vista School over the years, as well as the district math teams for the Math Field Day Competitions.
In 2003, he was the recipient of the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce Award for his contributions to teaching. He was recognized by his local union, BHEA, for his efforts serving as co-chair of the district’s newly formed Joint Insurance Committee, receiving the California Teachers Association WHO (We Honor Ours) Award in 2004. That same year, he was chosen for the Apple Award at Beverly Vista by principal, Iren Stern.
He served as certificated president of BHEA from 2010-2012, at a time when the district was undergoing significant personnel changes at the highest levels. He worked to build bridges between BHEA and the other stakeholders in the district, including administration, the PTA’s, the School Board, and the community in general.
After retirement, Mark plans to work with economically disadvantaged adults in developing their math skills in preparation for opportunities in higher education. Once the world opens up, he plans on doing some traveling in search of places in the world that will inspire him toward achieving another post-retirement goal - writing. Mark would like to begin recording some of the stories from his life in education.
When asked what he will miss most about teaching he said without hesitation that it would be his interactions with the students. He gets great energy seeing the lights come on in a student’s eyes when a difficult concept is mastered!
When asked, here are the words of wisdom Mark would like to share with his fellow educators: A great teacher knows how to hear a student without any words being spoken and strives to find ways to respond to what that student is saying. A wise teacher will be friendly with the students, but not aim to be their friend. A just teacher is aware of his own limitations and does not exploit the faults and weaknesses of the students, but prefers to be a source of forgiveness and encouragement. An effective teacher is a mentor, a guide, a captain who charts a path with confidence and aptitude and in whom the students place their trust, their respect, and their willingness to follow. An accomplished teacher will imprint a life lesson on the hearts and minds of the students that will serve as a source of strength and enlightenment for the rest of their lives.
Mark, we are thankful for the accomplishments and contributions you have made to improve the educational experience of the students in Beverly Hills. You will go down in the books as one of the legends in the BHUSD!
2020-2021 Apple Awards
Kelly Park is finishing her 31st year in education and has been in the BHUSD since Fall of 2014. She holds a Bachelor and Masters degree in Environmental Science from Texas Christian University and a Masters degree in Physical Education from the University of Houston.
During her time in Beverly Hills, Kelly has shown herself to be a leader amongst her peers. When El Rodeo was in the midst of construction and change in the physical campus, Kelly worked diligently to ensure that her students were still provided with an exemplary physical education program. Also at ER, Kelly served as the Character Education Coordinator promoting the John Wooden Pyramid of Success.
Most recently, she has served as a PE teacher and co-athletic director at BVMS. She is one of those people who thinks outside the box and always has what is best for students at the forefront of her thinking. Kelly is 150% committed to our school and defines what it means to have school spirit. In addition to her athletic director duties, she has served as a volleyball coach, attended student outdoor ed. trips with almost every grade level, been an active member of the BVMS PBIS/Four Core Team and most recently serves as the TUPE coordinator for our school! Kelly initiated the high-five program when she came to our district 7 years ago and consistently promotes our BVMS Four Core Values in all that she does.
When asked about what she aspires to accomplish each day, Kelly stated, “My goal is to build a positive Bulldog culture/community that impacts our students and staff. I want to show school pride and school spirit in every area of my program!” Kelly, you have absolutely accomplished your goal and we could not be more happy to recognize all that you bring to Beverly Vista Middle School each and every day!
With a resume that ranges from teaching at Johns Hopkins University to her current role as an Instructional Technology Teacher on Special Assignment, Gretchen Gabreski believes ardently in the power of two things: Education and technology. She received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Maryland and her Master of Science in Technology for Education from Johns Hopkins University.
Gretchen has worked in the BHUSD since 2018 and during her short tenure, has managed to win the trust and admiration of all who have had the opportunity to work with her. Gretchen has always shown herself to be an instructional leader but during our time of virtual learning, we were able to see the asset that she truly is. Working in close collaboration with our ILT, Gretchen identified and developed a professional development program that allowed our teachers to successfully navigate the digital classroom and our students to continue receiving a robust instructional program. She was literally our lifeline.
In addition to the school-wide support, Gretchen avails herself each day to the entire staff, parents and students who are struggling with instructional technology or simply signing into the Parent Square app. She always picks up the phone when called and does not know the word “no” when asked for support. She is an integral part of the success of Beverly Vista Middle School and we are thrilled that she represents our team as an Apple Award recipient this year!