Meet the Principal

  • Photograph of Dr. Benita Scheckel, PrincipalBenita Scheckel, Ed.D., who has served as principal of Altadena Arts Magnet since 2017, was named Principal of the Year in 2020-21 by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region XV.  She was announced as the principal of Altadena Eliot Arts Magnet K-8 Academy in July of 2021.  

    Prior to her position at Altadena Arts Magnet, Dr. Scheckel served as Assistant Principal of Marshall Fundamental Secondary School where she led the Academy for Creative Industries, the college and career pathway program. She was previously the K-8 curriculum resource teacher at McKinley School. From 2011-2015, Dr. Scheckel was coordinator of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme at Blair School and served on the team that brought the dual language immersion program to Blair. She began her teaching career at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) in 1999 and joined PUSD in 2007 as an English and Music teacher at Blair School. As a lead soprano in an opera touring company, Dr. Scheckel has sung internationally in several languages and performed in regional musical theater.

A Message from the Principal

  • I want to thank you for your interest in Eliot Arts Magnet. At Eliot Arts Magnet, we know how crucial the middle grades are to a young person’s educational and social development. We therefore aim to provide your child with a safe, enriching learning environment that nurtures academic development and creativity.

    Eliot Arts has a rich history and a bright future. Our dedicated and diverse teachers are highly educated and experienced, inspiring and engaging students in relevant,  rigorous curriculum.  Eliot Arts’ teachers connect traditional subjects with real-world experience using an arts-integrated approach; rather than teaching core classes in isolation, students learn math, science, social studies, and English through arts-infused demonstrations and performance tasks. 

    As an innovative Arts Magnet school, we also offer array of music, dance, theater arts, and visual arts courses in state-of-the-art facilities such as our new Mac lab and video-recording studio where students learn from professionals. Our professional partners, including Light Bringer Project, and Lineage Dance, mentor our teachers and students in the classroom through ongoing artist residencies. Students also visit a wide variety of art exhibitions and performances on field trips and with their Arts Passport, a new student incentive program to promote participation in community arts. Additionally, students display and perform their own work at Harmony and Metamorphosis, our biannual showcases.

    Eliot Arts’ staff and partners are excited about the direction we are taking to implement our Arts Magnet program, and we welcome you and your family to join us in creating a model Arts learning environment for all students. At Eliot Arts Magnet, we are music, we are dance, we are theater arts, and we are visual arts.