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April 22, 2022

Laguna Beach Unified School District Announces Elementary Principal Changes for El Morro and Top of the World Elementary Schools

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. - The Laguna Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) is excited to announce the new principals at both El Morro (EMS) and Top of the World (TOW) Elementary Schools. After Mr. Chris Duddy announced his retirement as principal from El Morro Elementary, LBUSD set out to find the best fit to take over the administration at EMS. We are proud to announce the appointment of Dr. Julie Hatchel, current principal at TOW, as the new principal at El Morro Elementary School, and Meghan Schooler, current assistant principal at Thurston Middle School, as the new principal at Top of the World Elementary School for the 2022-2023 school year.

Dr. Hatchel is a passionate, innovative, and experienced educational leader who will be a wonderful addition to the El Morro Elementary team. She came to LBUSD in 2020 with exceptional administration experience where she has served as a principal for fifteen years and assistant principal for two years in the Irvine Unified and Capistrano Unified School Districts. She also held the role of Assistant Superintendent of Education Services in the Capistrano Unified School District for five years. Her knowledge and drive as an instructional leader at the elementary level proves she is the perfect fit to support El Morro and help guide their continued work in the areas of MTSS and academic excellence

Ms. Schooler is a highly skilled administrator who brings many strengths to the LBUSD Leadership Team and the District. She came to LBUSD in 2020 after serving as an assistant principal for three years in the Redondo Union High School District. Prior to her role as an assistant principal, she served as the founding principal and assistant principal for four years collectively in Green Dot and has held positions as a teacher, instructional coach, and Title I Coordinator in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Most recently, Ms. Schooler served as the 2021 LBUSD elementary summer school principal, where she became familiar with the TOW campus and worked with many TOW staff. Her enthusiasm and excitement toward students will make her a great addition to the TOW family, where she will continue to help achieve school improvement goals, endeavors, and continue to support the development of MTSS.  

Ms. Schooler and Dr. Hatchel will be working together during the next four months to ensure a smooth administration transition at TOW. Ms. Schooler’s appointment will be brought to the Board of Education for approval at the regularly scheduled board meeting in May.

“I am pleased to hear that a seasoned and skilled leader such as Dr. Hatchel would fill the role of principal at El Morro Elementary School,” stated Sara Hopper, LBUSD LaBUFA President. “She made a thoughtful decision that will benefit the teachers and students at El Morro Elementary School bringing with her a wealth of knowledge, good-heartedness, and a great sense of humor. I also applaud the district for promoting from within by naming Megan Schooler presently assistant principal at TMS to principal at Top of the World Elementary School. As a competent, energetic, fun, and relatable leader, Ms. Schooler is a perfect fit for TOW. Both Dr. Hatchel and Ms. Schooler will definitely be missed at their current campuses, but I am excited for the teachers and students at their new school sites.”

Margaret Warder, LBUSD CSEA President shared, “It is with sincere pleasure that CSEA welcomes Ms. Schooler to the TOW family. I have personally had the pleasure of working under her direction for summer school and her expertise in LBUSD is an added plus. I have enjoyed working with Dr. Hatchel on the evolution of the MTSS program at TOW and believe her years of experienced leadership will be an excellent fit for El Morro’s students and staff. We are very fortunate to have leaders from within LBUSD to meet the needs of our students, staff, parents, and community.”

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Hatchel and Ms. Schooler to El Morro and Top of the World!