Meet the Principal

  • The Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) is pleased to announce the selection of Benita Scheckel as Principal of Altadena Arts Magnet. Ms. Scheckel was promoted after a competitive process that included input provided by Altadena Arts Magnet stakeholders, students, employees, and parents that informed the development of the new principal profile.

    "Ms. Scheckel’s accomplishments as an educator and her extensive arts background will be assets to the Altadena Arts Magnet community,” said Superintendent Brian McDonald. “I am pleased to promote Ms. Scheckel to Principal of Altadena Elementary.”

    Ms. Scheckel was named the 2017 Most Promising New Administrator by the Association of California School Administrators Region VX.  Since 2015, she has 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, Ms. 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. 

    “I am passionate about joining together with the talent at Altadena Arts Magnet to create a premiere school for the arts and dual language immersion,” said Scheckel. “I look forward to making Altadena my home for a very long time.”

    As a lead soprano in an opera touring company, Ms. Scheckel has sung internationally in several languages and performed in regional musical theater. She co-wrote Bend in the Road: The Anne of Green Gables Musical  that premiered at the Pasadena Playhouse’s Carrie Hamilton Theatre, and was an official selection of the 2013 New York Musical Theatre Festival.

    Ms. Scheckel has a bachelor of arts in vocal performance from California State University, Los Angeles, a Master’s in Cross Cultural Education from National University, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership at Azusa Pacific University.

    A native of Alhambra, Calif., Ms. Scheckel lives in Pasadena with her family.

    Ms. Schekel replaces Ana Maria Apodaca, who served as principal of Altadena Arts Magnet since 2016, and of Field Elementary since 2007, and is now taking a year-long sabbatical to pursue other educational opportunities.