Bradley Zacuto, an educator with nearly 30 years of experience working at private independent schools in Southern California, has been named the new head of Westside Neighborhood School (WNS) in Del Rey effective July 1st.

Zacuto succeeds outgoing school head Brenda A. Parker, who helped lead the school through a key period of expansion over the past 13 years. An anonymous donor has submitted a $1 million gift to the Brenda A. Parker Legacy endowment fund established by the school’s board of trustees to honor and celebrate her legacy.

For the past 13 years, Zacuto has worked at the pre-school- through-eighth-grade St. Matthew’s Parish School in the Pacific Palisades, where he currently oversees the operation of the middle school as its principal.

A longtime educator, Zacuto has been a classroom teacher in fifth-through-eighth-grade science, life skills and parent education classes, and has coached flag football and softball. Additionally, he spent ten years at Westlake School for Girls as chair of the science department, director of summer school and middle school director.

Other prior posts include six years as a science teacher and science coordinator at John Thomas Dye School. He is also a past Westside Neighborhood School parent and trustee.

“With his breadth of experience in independent schools, his energy and his belief in a K-8 [kindergarten-to-eighth-grade] education, Brad Zacuto will be a tremendous asset for WNS,” said Glenn Scott, chair of the board of trustees.

During her tenure, Parker transformed the school from “a hidden gem” to a much sought-after, dynamic educational community, Scott said. The school has increased enrollment, achieved its third six-year accreditation and established a long-range strategic plan while continuing to flourish, he said.

“WNS is a child-centered school where the entire community believes the children’s ultimate benefit should be at the forefront of all of the decision-making,” says Parker. “The greatest reward of my tenure was being with the children. Hearing their stories, hopes and dreams and watching them play has delighted me. I am forever grateful that I could play a part in shaping their lives.”

Another key component of Parker’s legacy is increasing and enriching the diversity of the student body, Scott said.

“This is a community of parents, trustees, faculty, and administrators who are willing to work unwaveringly on behalf of the students, and I’m proud to have been part of this extraordinary school for the past 13 years,” Parker said.