Ilene Straus, principal of Santa Monica High School, is leaving and has been offered the position of senior director of secondary education for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.

The senior director position has not yet been approved by the school district’s board of education but is scheduled to become effective at the close of the current school year.

“Dr. Straus has been a strong leader in our middle and high schools, and with this promotion, we will be able to utilize her skills and experience throughout the district,” said interim superintendent Michael Matthews.

Straus noted that she began at Santa Monica High School four years ago and will now “graduate” along with the students who came to the school at the same time.

“It’s been four exciting years with great students, many terrific teachers, and an amazing support staff,” Straus said.

“Along with the school board and district staff, we redesigned the school into six smaller houses and the results are now clear. Academic achievement is up and students are now doing much better.”

Prior to joining Santa Monica High School, Straus served for 16 years as principal of Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica, where she was selected as California Secondary Principal of the year.

Under Straus’ leadership, Lincoln Middle School was selected as a national Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, a California Distinguished School, and a Disney Spotlight School of the Year.

Matthews said the district would begin a search process immediately to find a successor at Santa Monica High School who will carry on the school’s improvement efforts.