District Departments » Special Education » Meet the Directors

Meet the Directors

Special Education Directors
Jodi Payne, Stacey McCrath-Smith, Greg Mizel, Heather Schauder, Tiffany King

Jodi Payne

Family Engagement, Support and Resolution
With over 30 years in Special Education, Jodi now serves as the Director of Family Engagement, Support and Resolution. Jodi supports all the District’s Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation and Due Process cases. She has made a concerted effort the last couple of years to support our families’ resolving conflicts more effectively, at the lowest level whenever possible.  The partnership with our Parent Engagement Liaison and our families has enabled the creation of the Parent Ambassador Program.  The unique program was founded on the need to have parents as partners.   She also supports the District Resource Nurses and School Psychologists. Jodi started her career with PUSD as a Poway Academy of Learning (PAL) teacher before becoming a Program Specialist for 15 years and ultimately, a Special Education Director in 2016. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her family including her three children and her husband. Sports and athletics are an important part of her family, especially supporting The Ohio State University.

Heather Schauder

Heather Schauder supports the elementary special education programs for Transitional Kindergarten through 5th grade across the District.  Heather’s 23 years serving students with disabilities from preschool through post-high school include experience and expertise as a School Psychologist, Lead School Psychologist, and PUSD Program Specialist.  In her current role as a Director of Special Education, Heather continues to value and prioritize fostering collaborative relationships with families, staff, and community partners. She is a proud PUSD parent of two daughters who attended our schools from K through 12.  When she is not in the office, Heather enjoys spending time with her husband and daughters, trying new restaurants, travelling, and serving the community.

Tiffany King

Tiffany King supports the District’s middle school, high school, Adult Transition, and Alternative special education programs.  Tiffany began working in Poway Unified in 1999 as an Instructional Assistant and later continued to support students and families in special education as a high school Special Education Teacher, Department Chair, and Program Specialist, before promoting to the position of Special Education Director.  In her spare time, Tiffany works as an adjunct instructor with Azusa Pacific University and San Diego County Office of Education where she supports special education credential and intern candidates. Tiffany has a passion for equity, inclusion, and preparing students for post-secondary goals and pathways.  When she is not working, Tiffany enjoys spending time with her family. 

Dr. Stacey McCrath-Smith

Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA)

[email protected]

Stacey joins the PUSD team as the Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) Director responsible for monitoring and reporting district compliance data and representing the District at the regional and state level meetings.  Stacey supports Related Services groups including Speech Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Adaptive PE, Vision and Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  She also supports the Inclusive Practices team in their work to strengthen and grow inclusion. Throughout her 34-year career in education Stacey has served as an elementary teacher and a non-public school principal in Los Angeles, before moving to Seattle, WA where she served as a middle and high school principal, then Director of Special Education in Seattle Public Schools, and for the past 10 years as Director of Secondary Special Education in the Lake Washington School District.  Stacey completed her doctoral studies at Seattle Pacific University, focusing her research on inclusive practices.  Stacey is the proud basketball mom of two adult sons and spends many weekends in the winter and spring traveling to watch college basketball. She also is a devoted “dog” mom who enjoys exploring local parks and beaches with her pup.