Dr. Herkner-Chasse came to SMMUSD from the Conejo Valley Unified School District six years ago, where she had been serving as the Principal of Ladera Elementary School for four years. Her 17 years in the Conejo Valley Unified School District also include, Principal of Sycamore Canyon School K-8 and Principal of Glenwood Elementary School K-6 Title I.
Along with her position at Conejo Valley, Dr. Herkner-Chasse serves as Adjunct Professor and Lecturer at California Lutheran University in the Department of Educational Leadership and Special Education. Before coming to the CVUSD, the prior 12 years were spent as Principal of Pierpont School, Summer School Principal for Special Education, a Resource Specialist teacher for the Ventura Unified School District and Burbank Unified School Districts, and the Director of Education at Woodview-Calabasas Psychiatric Hospital.
As a Principal, she increased API test scores, implemented researched-based intervention programs for at-risk students, led a whole-child process to teaching and learning, oversaw the establishment and creation of a K-8 school from the initial planning to completion, and reinvigorated the learning environment by instituting a Professional Learning Community approach to decision making on the campus. Dr. Herkner-Chasse is well-versed in special education best-practices, having worked with children with special needs over the past thirty years. She has applied these skills and knowledge to ensure the academic and emotional success of all children at all ability levels. Her early career in special education laid the foundation for understanding and responding to the reality that student success depends on differentiation to address individual needs.
Understanding that children learn in different ways and at different rates, Dr. Herkner-Chasse works with her staff to develop strategies and an environment conducive to meeting the individual needs of all students. Using a character education program and bucket-filling philosophy, she establishes the learning environment and culture to be inclusive, safe and diverse. Dr. Herkner-Chasse has been a speaker at the local, state and national level in the areas of character education/bucket-filling, parent involvement and RtI2. She has received several leadership awards and is an active member of her community.
Dr. Herkner-Chasse’s style of leadership empowers staff and promotes collaborative decision-making teams. Using the Professional Learning Community (PLC) philosophy, Dr. Herkner-Chasse shifts from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning in the standards based classroom. Her belief is that by communicating the vision, providing the research-based best practices in a collaborative setting with ongoing inquiry and reflection will lead to continuous improvement and good to great!
Dr. Herkner-Chasse came to the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District six years ago with a wealth of professional experiences, expertise and a strong leadership style. When asked, she shared that success in leading a school requires even more. “Leading by example with a collaborative, team-building style is essential. A fully engaged, roll up your sleeves, go beyond the expected attitude in a leader instills the same throughout the community. Education is not just a profession that involves heads. It involves hearts as well. That drives my devotion to my work. My most important qualification is my tireless dedication and unwavering commitment to the realization of the full potential of every child I touch in my role as a leader.”