Poway Unified: Home to Five Administrators of the Year!

2/13/2023 8:40:29 AM

The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) and the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) recently announced their 2023 Administrators of the Year, five of whom proudly serve in the Poway Unified School District (PUSD). PUSD is honored to call some of the County’s best and brightest school administrators as our own.

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Congratulations to: 

❖ Greg Mizel, Associate Superintendent of Student Support Services: SDCOE Administrator of the Year
❖ James Jimenez, Associate Superintendent of Personnel Support Services: ACSA HR/Personnel Administrator of the Year
❖ Laura Crow, Pomerado Elementary School Principal: ACSA Elementary Principal of the Year
❖ Colin Young, Oak Valley Middle School Principal: ACSA Middle Grades Principal of the Year
❖ Richard Nash, Poway High School Principal: ACSA Secondary Principal of the Year

San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) Awards Program
SDCOE’s “Honoring Excellence in School Counseling Leadership” Awards was created in 2022 to share and acknowledge San Diego County leaders in the profession of school counseling who go above and beyond in their service of schools, staff, students, and families. In celebration of National School Counseling Week (February 6-10, 2023), SDCOE staff surprised three 2023 School Counselors of the Year, an Advocate of the Year, an Administrator of the Year, a Lifetime Achievement Awardee in School Counseling Leadership, and Community-Based Organization of the Year. All winners will be celebrated at a May 12, 2023, event in San Diego.

Greg Mizel, SDCOE 2023 Administrator of the Year
Greg Mizel has been named San Diego County’s 2023 Administrator of the Year for his support of school counselors in the Poway Unified School District, advocating for student wellness and mental health, and advancing counselors’ learning, development, and professionalism. Since 2018, under Mr. Mizel’s leadership, PUSD has instituted numerous changes to improve social-emotional learning and mental health supports, including:
• Increasing counseling positions and hours
• Bringing in full-time social workers at every comprehensive middle and high school in PUSD
• Developing strong professional growth opportunities for all counselors, as well as establishing data-informed, consistent systems
• Adding mental health, social media, and substance
abuse as topics in District Safety Summits

Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Awards Program
The ACSA Administrator of the Year awards recognize outstanding performance and achievement by individual administrators, and are given at both regional and state levels. Recipients of the awards are chosen based on their demonstration of exceptional leadership, commitment to educational quality, professional growth, and student achievement, and display of creativity and innovation in overcoming issues facing public education. The following PUSD administrators were named winners for ACSA’s Region 18 (San Diego and Imperial Counties).

James Jimenez, HR/Personnel Administrator of the Year
There has never been a more challenging time to be in HR, but James Jimenez and his team have hired more employees than ever before, including a 50% increase in Classified employees and a 35% increase in Certificated employees. Personnel Support Services (PSS) has dramatically and intentionally improved employee wellness and increased the recruitment of a diverse workforce to more closely reflect the demographics of PUSD students. Since coming to PUSD in 2017, Mr. Jimenez has embraced a mix of innovative and traditional recruiting and retention strategies that are being replicated by many school districts across the County and the State. Mr. Jimenez is highly skilled at building trust, creating and nurturing relationships, and treating all he encounters with kindness and respect.

Laura Crow, Elementary Principal of the Year
Since 2016, Laura Crow has quietly, compassionately, and steadfastly transformed Pomerado Elementary School and its culture. As an outstanding school leader, Mrs. Crow has brought about an expectation of universal achievement, growth mindset, perseverance, and career and college readiness for some of PUSD’s most disadvantaged students. She is also an ambassador for PUSD’s inclusive practices initiative, and through her open communication, she has garnered strong support from her staff and parent community to implement programs to support world class learners, no matter their background or obstacles. At Pomerado Elementary School, students proudly pursue their potential and are empowered to dream big. Mrs. Crow is that cheerleader, champion, and advocate for every learner.

Colin Young, Middle Grades Principal of the Year
Colin Young’s strengths as an administrator have shined as Poway Unified undergoes a major District wide middle school redesign. Oak Valley, where Mr. Young has served as Principal since 2019, is a model for PUSD’s other middle schools, due to the strong systems he and his team have put into place. From Connections class to multiple electives options, Fun Fridays to the Forever Falcons mindset, Mr. Young has been an integral leader for a cultural shift at Oak Valley which has resulted in improved student engagement and wellbeing. Mr. Young has a playfulness that his middle school students and staff connect with, while leading through kindness, confidence, and genuine relationship-building. He is also a previous ACSA winner, as the 2018 Secondary Co-Administrator of the Year, when he served as Assistant Principal at Mt. Carmel High School.

Richard Nash, Secondary Principal of the Year
Since 2019, Richard Nash has served as the Principal of Poway High School, where his leadership has driven radical, systemic change in the school’s culture. His work has touched all students, parents, and staff, producing not only a vibrant, healthier learning community, but also improvements in his students’ academic achievement and social/emotional wellbeing as well as staff morale and accountability. He also exhibits a passion for engaging students through innovative CTE experiences, such as eSports and electric vehicle technology. Through his example and focusing on building a positive culture of high expectations, known as R.I.G.O.R., Mr. Nash has led a vision that his entire community can believe in and work towards. This has resulted in a school experience where students can thrive and feel supported.

PUSD’s ACSA Administrators of the Year will join other Region 18 Administrators of the Year at the “Honoring Our Own” celebration on May 27, 2023 in San Diego. Congratulations to all!


Christine Paik by cpaik


The Poway Unified School District (PUSD) is an equal opportunity employer/program and is committed to an active Nondiscrimination Program. PUSD prohibits discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying based on actual or perceived race, color, ancestry, national origin, nationality, immigration status, ethnicity, ethnic group identification, age, religion, marital or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or gender expression or association with a person or a group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. For more information, please contact: Title IX/Equity Compliance Officer, James Jimenez, Associate Superintendent of Personnel Support Services, Poway Unified School District, 15250 Avenue of Science, San Diego, CA 92128, 1-858-521-2800, extension 2121, jjimenez@powayusd.com. For students, you may contact Title IX Coordinator/ 504 Coordinator Jamie Dayhoff, Director of Attendance and Discipline, Poway Unified School District, 1-858-521-2840, jdayhoff@powayusd.com

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