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dr. liz hicks

Principal and Founder



Education: Bachelor of Arts, History, University of California, Santa Cruz

Master of Arts, Educational Leadership, University of La Verne

Doctor of Education, Leadership and Organizational Change, University of Southern California


Bio: Principal Dr. Liz Hicks is an experienced educator, formally serving families in LAUSD as a history teacher, department chair, academic/college counselor, founder and lead teacher for a California Partnership Academy, the Communication Arts Academy, all at Hamilton High School. She continued at Hamilton as assistant principal secondary counseling services, then moved to Beverly Hills High School where she was a House Principal, and John Marshall High School where she was Assistant Principal over instruction, discipline and intervention. Dr. Hicks was the counseling coordinator for Local District West, assisting 34 secondary schools with college and academic counseling, and providing professional development for counselors and assistant principals across the district. She is the founder and writer of the GALA school design, which was unanimously approved by the Board of Education in 2015. Dr. Hicks also wrote the plan for the LAUSD all-boys school, Boys Academic Leadership Academy (BALA) which was approved in 2016. As the principal of GALA, Dr. Hicks is passionate about providing a world class STEM education in an all-girls setting. She has proudly watched the girls grow, learn, excel through their seven years at GALA and is so proud of their outstanding college acceptances. She serves on the National Coalition of Girls Schools Board and speaks about girls' education across the country, including at Beyond Innovation and LADOT. In her spare time, Dr. Hicks enjoys reading, beach sports (kayaking, swimming, surfing), and spending time with her daughters.

Founders Page: For more information, see the GALA Founders Page.

Career Girls: Watch our Principal at this link. Click "All My Videos" to see all the videos or click on the link to have them all play sequentially.

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Jason benoit

Assistant Principal


Education: Bachelor of Science, Biology, Furman University

Master of Education, Curricula & Instruction, Chapman University

Master of Arts, Educational Administration, California State University Northridge 

Bio: Mr. Benoit brings to GALA more than two decades of educational experience, both within and outside of the classroom. He began his career teaching middle school in Compton, California, where he was awarded National Teacher of the Year by the Educate the Children Foundation. From there, he taught high school biology, horticulture, and AP Environmental Science at John Marshall High School. He is the founder and former director of The School for Environmental Studies, a California Partnership Academy recognized by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges for its whole child approach to educating students. An expert in Restorative Justice practices, Mindfulness, and Wellness, Mr. Benoit comes to GALA from LA Unified’s district headquarters where he developed and implemented programs designed to support school sites in identifying and addressing the social emotional learning needs of students. Mr. Benoit was a member of the original GALA school design team. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, the arts, and traveling with his family.

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