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Matthew Steitz Named Principal of The Preuss School UC San Diego

The nationally ranked charter school is focused on low-income students who strive to become the first in their families to graduate from college

After a nationwide search, Matthew Steitz, Ed.D, has been appointed principal of The Preuss School UC San Diego, effective July 1, 2020. Most recently, Steitz served as assistant superintendent of Educational Excellence for the Vista Unified School District. The Preuss School is a unique charter middle and high school for low-income students who strive to become the first in their families to graduate from college. Located on the University of California San Diego campus, the school was recently recognized as the #1 high school in San Diego County by U.S. News & World Report.

Preuss School new principal Matthew Steitz

Matthew Steitz, Ed.D.

“We are delighted to welcome Matthew Steitz to The Preuss School,” said UC San Diego Executive Vice Chancellor Elizabeth H. Simmons. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, a passion for excellence and a commitment to the mission and vision of The Preuss School that will continue to support outstanding outcomes.”

As principal, Steitz will work closely with Helen V. Griffith, Ed.D., executive director of The Preuss School, to build the capacity of scholars, faculty, staff, parents and community partners. “As an educator who is dedicated to transformational student success, Dr. Steitz is an ideal addition to our Preuss leadership team,” said Griffith. “I look forward to partnering with him in preparing our scholars to succeed in college and career.”

For Steitz , the role of an educational leader is to create a culture where every person is valued and their individual strengths are recognized and developed. Mutual respect, trust, professionalism, and continuous school improvement guide his daily work and keep him focused on exemplary scholar outcomes. “I am thrilled to join the The Preuss School team, ready to support the school’s history of transformational success, especially at a time when our educational system is challenged by a worldwide pandemic,” said Steitz.

Prior to joining The Preuss School, Steitz served as executive director of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction as well as interim Chief Academic Officer at the Vista Unified School District. His leadership experience also includes assistant principal of San Marcos High School as well as principal of Carlsbad High School.

Steitz’s experience as an educator began as a high school biology teacher where he worked to increase the number of underrepresented scholars in AP Biology—as a result, his scholars achieved an 82% pass rate on the advanced placement exam. As a proponent of concurrent college education, Steitz collaborated with Cuyamaca Community College to begin a forensic science course enabling students to earn college credit while enrolled in high school.

A San Diego native, Steitz earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from San Diego State University, a master’s degree in educational administration from National University, and a doctor of education degree in a joint program between UC San Diego and Cal State San Marcos.


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