Presented by: 
Poway Unified School District
September 29, 2022 -
11:30am - 1:30pm

About the Webinar: Learn how Poway Unified School District completely transformed their relationships with families, re-established trust, and even more importantly, improved students’ learning experiences. Their intentional efforts to engage parents as partners also helped save the district millions of dollars in attorney fees and settlement costs.  Their hope is that by continuing to partner with parents, staff can spend less time and energy embroiled in conflict and more time and energy exploring ways to continuously improve students’ learning experiences.


Greg Mizel, Associate Superintendent

With over 30 years in education, now, Greg Mizel has had opportunities to lead at almost every level: K-8, middle school, new school, high school, and central office. He began his career in a very small, one school K-8 school district (ADA 865) and served there for 12 years where he promoted from a first-year teacher to principal. Greg left Rancho Santa Fe School District to join the Poway Unified School District - a much larger, suburban school district (ADA 35,000) - and has worked in PUSD for the last 18 years.  Here he started as principal at Mesa Verde Middle School before promoting to principal at Del Norte High School. Greg invested 10 years of his professional life helping to open and firmly establish Del Norte High School, a brand new, comprehensive high school that today serves almost 2,500 students. More recently, he has spent the last four years serving as an Associate Superintendent overseeing Student Support Services. In this role, Greg has been tasked with improving the student experience focusing on systems innovation, community engagement, and organizational health.

Jodi L. Payne, Director

With over 30 years experience in Special Education, Jodi now serves as the Director of Family Engagement, Support and Resolution. Jodi supports all of the District’s Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation and Due Process cases. She has made a concerted effort the last couple of years to more effectively support our families resolving conflicts at the lowest level whenever possible.  The partnership with our Parent Engagement Liaison and our families has enabled the District’s 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 was then promoted to Director during the 2016-2017 school year. 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.

Michelle O'Connor-Ratcliff, Poway Unified School District Board Member and Parent 

Michelle is serving her eighth year as a Governing Board Member of the Poway Unified School District. She grew up in the Poway Unified community, the daughter of two Poway Unified teachers, and graduated from Poway Unified schools. She earned degrees from Stanford University and UC Hastings Law and is now a parent of two current Poway Unified students. Michelle is an attorney, a professor, a Girl Scout troop leader, a PTA Executive Board member, and an advocate for inclusive, equitable public education with a particular passion for special education excellence.