The 30 Most Influential California High School Principals [Report]

Below is our ranking of who we believe to be the 30 Most Influential California High School Principals. In order to rank and compile the list you see below, we devised a system in which “points” were awarded to each principal based on a wide variety of data available to the public, including national and state awards, national and state “rankings,” average SAT scores, ‘college readiness,’ and more. After the data was gathered and sorted, “points” were then awarded and tallied, resulting in the list you see below.

From all of us here at Mometrix Test Preparation, we want to congratulate each and every Principal and school who appears on this list – your drive, dedication, and desire to cultivate the best learning environments possible has not been missed, and your devotion to your schools, staff and students is inspiring. Thank you for all the work you’ve done, and once again, congratulations!

30. Ms. Mitzi Cress - Palos Verdes Peninsula High School in Rolling Hills Estates30. Ms. Mitzi Cress – Palos Verdes Peninsula High School in Rolling Hills Estates

Having been at her post since 2010, Principal Mitzi Cress has guided Palos Verdes Peninsula High School to a number of esteemed awards and accolades. PVPHS found itself ranked 5th overall on Niche.com’s Best Public High Schools in California list for 2015. Like a number of other schools on this list too, Principal Cress finds her school among the top 30 average SAT scores in California. In another huge accomplishment, the California Department of Education awarded PVPHS with a 2015 California Gold Ribbon Schools award. Congratulations to Principal Cress and Palos Verdes Peninsula High School!

29. Mr. William V. Mynster - Troy High School in Fullerton

29. Mr. William V. Mynster – Troy High School in Fullerton

Principal William V. Mynster of Troy High School has made quite the impression on the school even though he’s only been at the helm for a little over a year. Since becoming Principal at Troy High, Principal Mynster has seen it become the 13th best high school in the entire country according to Niche.com. The same website then turned around and ranked it the second best public high school in California behind only Grenada Hills Charter High School. On top of that, The Los Angeles Times reported that Principal Mynster’s school had one of the top 10 average SAT scores in the state at 1897, and U.S. News & World Report recognized Troy High for having one of the top API scores in California as well. Congratulations to Principal Mynster and Troy High School!

28. Mr. Gregg L. Moses - Western Sierra Collegiate Academy in Rocklin28. Mr. Gregg L. Moses – Western Sierra Collegiate Academy in Rocklin

Principal Gregg L. Moses, who was appointed Principal of Western Sierra Collegiate Academy in 2012, has been instrumental in bringing his school into the conversation regarding the best schools in California. The California Department of Education awarded the school with a 2015 California Gold Ribbon School award, an elite award among California schools. U.S. News & World Report then turned around and ranked WSCA the 8th most ‘college ready’ High School in the state and, even more impressively, also ranked Principal Moses’ school one of the very best in California. Congratulations to Principal Moses and Western Sierra Collegiate Academy!

27. Dr. Chris Grado - AV SOAR High School in Lancaster

27. Dr. Chris Grado – AV SOAR High School in Lancaster

Located in Lancaster, California, Dr. Chris Grado presides as principal of one of the top schools in the state. SOAR (Students on Academic Rise) is one of only 6 schools on this entire list to be honored as a U.S. Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School, an award which the organization says recognizes, “students’ accomplishments and the hard work and dedication that went into their success.” On top of that, Principal Grado has also been instrumental in securing a top-30 ranking in the state of California by School Digger as well as being recognized by U.S. News & World Report as having one of the top Academic Performance Index ratings in the state. Congratulations to Principal Grado and AV SOAR High School!

Principal Berumen

26. Mr. Esau Berumen – Hawthorne Math and Science Academy in Hawthorne

Coming in at #26 is Mr. Esau Berumen of Hawthorne Math and Science Academy. Since stepping into his current role, Principal Berumen has been an integral part of his school being honored by U.S. News & World Report who recognized HMSA with two different accolades, naming the school the 12th most ‘college ready’ high school in California and one of the top 30 overall schools in the state. The California Department of Education also awarded Principal Berumen and his school with a 2015 California Gold Ribbon School award, one of the best accolades a California high school can receive. Congratulations to Principal Berumen and Hawthorne Math and Science Academy!

25. Ms. Tracy Corbally - Alameda Science and Technology Institute in Alameda

25. Ms. Tracy Corbally – Alameda Science and Technology Institute in Alameda

Since taking her place as Principal of Alameda Science and Technology Institute, Ms. Tracy Corbally has made a name for herself and her school as they continue to assert themselves as one of the top high schools in the state. Exemplifying just how well ASTI is viewed among the education community, the U.S. Department of Education awarded the school a National Blue Ribbon Award for 2015, an accolade received by only a handful of schools in the entire country. In addition to that prestigious award, U.S. News & World Report recognized Principal Corbally’s school as having one of the highest Academic Performance Index ratings in California. Furthermore, School Digger also got in on the fun by naming ASTI one of the best schools in the state. Congratulations to Principal Corbally and Alameda Science and Technology Institute!

24. Ms. Jan Murata - Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy in Wilmington24. Ms. Jan Murata – Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy in Wilmington

Coming in as the 24th most influential high school principal in California is Ms. Jan Murata of Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy. U.S. News & World Report has been all about Principal Murata’s Monarchs recently, listing the school as having one of the top API’s in the state and as being one of the most ‘college ready’ institutions in California. On top of that, the esteemed publication also took it one step further in naming it one of the overall best high schools in the state. Aside from the slew of accolades received from U.S. News & World Report while under the leadership of Principal Murata, the school was also recently named a recipient of the 2015 California Gold Ribbon Schools Award. Congratulations to Principal Murata and Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy!

23. Dr. Pete Getz - Academy of the Canyons in Santa Clarita

23. Dr. Pete Getz – Academy of the Canyons in Santa Clarita

Since assuming the helm at Academy of the Canyons, Dr. Pete Getz has used his role as Principal to grow the school’s impact and reach. Academy of the Canyons is only the third of six total schools on this list to have been named a 2015 recipient of the National Blue Ribbon Award handed out by the U.S. Department of Education, a prestigious award that only goes to the best of the best in the entire United States. Moreover, School Digger named Principal Getz’s school one of the best in California, while U.S News & World Report recognized it as having one of the highest Academic Performance Index ratings in the state. Congratulations to Principal Getz and Academy of the Canyons!

22. Ms. Melissa Madigan - William and Marian Ghidotti High School in Grass Valley (also known as Ghidotti Early College High School)22. Ms. Melissa Madigan – William and Marian Ghidotti High School in Grass Valley (also known as Ghidotti Early College High School)

Even though Principal Melissa Madigan is currently in the process of stepping out of her role as Principal and into the role of Director of Educational and Pupil Services for the Nevada Joint Union High School District there in Grass Valley, it’s clear that in her time as Principal she has been one of the best. U.S. News & World Report revealed that Ghidotti High School was one of the top 30 in the state of California in the Academic Performance Index (or API) for the most recent reporting year, and School Digger rated the second best high school in the state. The work that Principal Madigan has done during her time at Ghidotti High has earned her a spot on our list, and her achievements for the school will surely be remembered long after she begins her next journey. Congratulations to Principal Madigan and William and Marian Ghidotti High School!

21. Dr. James Bushman - University High School in Fresno

21. Dr. James Bushman – University High School in Fresno

Since being appointed Head of School in 2006, Dr. James Bushman has been hard at work securing University High School as one of the very best in California. The Los Angeles Times published a piece stating that University High recorded one of the top 30 average SAT scores in the state, and U.S. News & World Report named the school the 6th most ‘college ready’ school in California. Aside from these prestigious accolades, Dr. Bushman has also seen University High make U.S. News & World Report and Niche.com’s ‘top high schools in California’ lists. Congratulations to Dr. Bushman and University High School!

20. Mr. Ian McFeat - La Cañada High School in La Cañada Flintridge

20. Mr. Ian McFeat – La Cañada High School in La Cañada Flintridge

Since being appointed in 2012, Principal Ian McFeat of La Cañada High School has catapulted his school into the conversation for the top high schools in the state. La Cañada finds itself and it’s principal on this list for a number of reasons, not the least of which includes the Los Angeles Times publishing an article where it revealed LCHS to have one the best average SAT scores in California, with students averaging an 1811. On top of that, School Digger named LCHS the 25th best high school in the state, and U.S. News & World Report listed La Cañada as having the 14th ranked API (or Academic Performance Index) in the state. Congratulations to Principal McFeat and La Cañada High School!

19. Ms. Mary Johnson - San Marino High School in San Marino

19. Ms. Mary Johnson – San Marino High School in San Marino

Even though she only recently left her position as Assistant Principal for the last 10 years to become Principal at the same school, Ms. Mary Johnson of San Marino High School has had an immense impact on her school. School Digger and Niche.com have ranked SMHS as the 27th and 7th best high schools in California, respectively. On top of that, U.S. News & World Report ranked Principal Johnson’s school as having one of the top API scores in the state, and the LA Times got on board as well when they reported that the students of SMHS average an SAT score of 1861, good for 12th in California. And to top it all off, BestColleges.com ranked Principal Johnson’s SMHS as the 9th best high school in the entire country. Congratulations to Principal Johnson and San Marino High School!

18. Mr. Karl Mueller - Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego

18. Mr. Karl Mueller – Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego

Coming in at #18 is Principal Karl Mueller of Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego. Principal Mueller, who has been at the school since 2013, has been an integral part of CCA receiving a number of awards and accolades over the past few years. To get things started, U.S. News & World Report recognized Principal Mueller’s school as one of the best schools in California and reported that it has one of the highest ‘college readiness’ ratings and API ratings in the state. On top of that, the LA Times reported that with an average student SAT score of 1818, CCA comes in as one of the top schools in California. Niche.com got in on the fun as well, also naming Principal Mueller’s school as one of the best in the state. Congratulations to Principal Mueller and Canyon Crest Academy!

17. Ms. Julie Parks - Miramonte High School in Orinda17. Ms. Julie Parks – Miramonte High School in Orinda

Since assuming the role of Principal at Miramonte High School, Ms. Julie Parks and her school have enjoyed great success and numerous accolades. Niche.com ranked the school the 15th best in California, and School Digger ranked it 26th. The LA Times recognized Miramonte High as having an average student SAT score of 1870, the 11th highest average score in the state. U.S. News & World Report joined in on the action by saying that Principal Parks’ school has one of the best API scores in the state as well. And last but not least, Principal Parks and Miramonte High were named one of the 2015 California Gold Ribbon Schools Award, a prestigious award handed out by the California Department of Education to only the very best of the best. Congratulations to Principal Parks and Miramonte High School!

16. Mr. Christopher Brown - California Academy of Mathematics and Science in Carson

16. Mr. Christopher Brown – California Academy of Mathematics and Science in Carson

Rounding out the second half of our ‘Most Influential’ list is Christopher Brown, Principal of California Academy of Mathematics and Science in Carson, CA. Principal Brown has played a significant role in helping CAMS become one of the best schools in the state. A myriad of groups and organizations have recognized CAMS as one of the best high schools in California (U.S. News & World Report, Niche.com, School Digger), and U.S. News & World Report went even further by saying Principal Brown’s Academy is one of the most ‘college ready’ schools in the state, as well as ranking it near the top of their Academic Performance Index scores (#19 in the state). Congratulations to Principal Brown and California Academy of Mathematics and Science!

15. Mr. Simon Fletcher - Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz15. Mr. Simon Fletcher – Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz

Mr. Simon Fletcher, who’s been Principal at Pacific Collegiate School since July 2014, has made a quick and immediate impact on his school even in his short tenure so far, and has thus cracked the top 15 on our list. In fact, U.S. News & World Report has been quite bullish on PCS as of late, naming it 3rd most ‘college ready’ high school in California and reporting that the school also boasts one of the highest Academic Performance ratings around. But U.S. News & World Report wasn’t done there, as it went one step further and named Principal Fletcher’s school not only one of the best high schools in The Golden State but also as one of the best in the entire nation, an award that only two other schools on this list received. Congratulations to Principal Fletcher and Pacific Collegiate School!

14. Mr. Brent Daniels - Piedmont High School in Piedmont

14. Mr. Brent Daniels – Piedmont High School in Piedmont

Principal Brent Daniels, who assumed his role in the summer of 2013, has been a vital part of Piedmont High School’s rise through the ranks as one of the best schools in California. PHS has tallied a handful of awards and honors in the last year, most notably when Newsweek ranked them one of the best high schools in the entire country, making it one of only three schools from the state to crack the list’s top 30. On top of that, U.S. News & World Report recognized Principal Daniels’ school as being one of the most ‘college ready’ schools in the state and as being one of the best overall high schools in California. Even more than that, School Digger also named PHS one of the best schools in the state, and the LA Times reported that the school posted one of the highest average SAT schools around. Congratulations to Principal Daniels and Piedmont High School!

13. Ms. Sonia Flores - Dr. T.J. Owens Gilroy Early College Academy in Gilroy

13. Ms. Sonia Flores – Dr. T.J. Owens Gilroy Early College Academy in Gilroy

Coming in at number 13 on our list is Principal Sonia Flores of Dr. T.J. Owens Gilroy Early College Academy. Principal Flores has led her school to a handful of ‘top high school’ rankings, including nods from both School Digger and U.S. News & World Report. The California Department of Education has also recognized the outstanding performance and achievement of the school by rewarding it the 2015 California Gold Ribbon Schools Award. Principal Flores’ school also made two other U.S. News & World Report honors lists, coming in at 10th in the ‘college readiness’ rankings and 19th in the Academic Performance Index ratings. Congratulations to Principal Flores and Dr. T.J. Owens Gilroy Early College Academy!

12. Mr. Andrew Ishibashi - Lowell High School in San Francisco

12. Mr. Andrew Ishibashi – Lowell High School in San Francisco

Principal Andrew Ishibashi of Lowell High School has captained the school for more than 8 years now, having taken on the title of Principal back in 2007. Since then, Principal Ishibashi has been critical to the continued growth and development of LHS, landing it on a number of honor and award lists, most notably including the California Department of Education’s 2015 Gold Ribbon School award. To go along with that prestigious award, U.S. News & World Report showered the school with a slew of awards, including a state-wide ‘Best High Schools’ nod as well as being recognized as a top Academic Performance Index school and as one of the most ‘college ready’ schools in California. School Digger also got in on the action by naming Principal Ishibashi’s school one of the best in the state. Congratulations to Principal Ishibashi and Lowell High School!

11. Ms. April Scott - Monta Vista High School in Cupertino

11. Ms. April Scott – Monta Vista High School in Cupertino

Principal April Scott has the longest tenure of any principal on our list, having held down the role of Principal of Monta Vista High School since 2004. But aside from having been at her position for over 10 years, Principal Scott has also helped catapult MVHS into the upper echelon of California schools. U.S. News & World Report threw a slew of rewards at Principal Scott’s school, including a ‘Best High Schools’ in the state honor, a ‘college readiness’ award and recognition for having one of the highest Academic Performance Index ratings in the state. The LA Times jumped in on the fun as well, pointing out that MVHS had the fourth highest average SAT score in California, with an average score of 1968. School Digger also joined in, naming Principal Scott’s school one of the best in the state. Congratulations to Principal Scott and Monta Vista High School!

10. Mr. Daniel Hillman - Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon

10. Mr. Daniel Hillman – Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon

Since being handed the reins to Dougherty Valley High School in 2013, Principal Daniel Hillman has guided the San Ramon public school to new heights. DVHS is the only school on this entire list to have garnered three different statewide rankings (being honored by U.S. News & World Report, Niche.com and School Digger) and received a 2015 California Gold Ribbon School reward from the California Department of Educations. As if that wasn’t enough, U.S. News & World Report when even further by naming DVHS one of the top schools in California for ‘College Readiness’ as well as recognizing the achievement that is being one of the highest rated schools on the API, or Academic Performance Index. Congratulations to Principal Hillman and Dougherty Valley High School!

9. Dr. Leslie Roach - Northwood High School in Irvine

9. Dr. Leslie Roach – Northwood High School in Irvine

Dr. Leslie Roach, who has been the principal at Northwood High School since 2013, has guided her school into the top tier of California high schools, and has therefore catapulted herself into the top ten most influential principals in the state. BestColleges.com ranked NHS the 6th best high school in the entire country, the highest ranking of any California school on the list. Niche.com and School Digger both named NHS one of the top high schools in the state, and Principal Roach’s school also received a 2015 California Gold Ribbon School Award. On top of that, NHS was reported to have one of the highest average SAT scores in the state by the LA Times, and U.S. News & World Report states that the school also posted one of the state’s best API ratings. Congratulations to Principal Roach and Northwood High School!

8. Mr. Scott Barton - The Preuss School in La Jolla

8. Mr. Scott Barton – The Preuss School in La Jolla

Scott Barton, who was appointed Principal of The Preuss School back in 2008, has been pivotal to his school’s success since then. In the last year alone, Principal Barton has led his school to be not only one of the top 50 schools in the United States according to TheBestSchools.org, but both U.S. News & World Report and Niche.com named it one of the best high schools in the state as well. The California Department of Education got in on the trend as well when it named The Preuss School a Gold Ribbon school for the year 2015. To top it all off, U.S. News & World Report also named Principal Barton’s school the 5th most ‘college ready’ school in California. Congratulations to Principal Barton and The Preuss School!

7. Dr. Denise Herrmann, Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto

7. Dr. Denise Herrmann, Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto

Ever since being appointed Principal at Henry M. Gunn High School, Dr. Denise Herrmann has been influential in helping her school become one of the best in the state. Niche.com not only named Gunn one of the best high schools in California, but it also recognized it as one of the best schools in the entire country, a list that only two other schools on this list were a part of. BestColleges.com also named Principal Herrmann’s school one of the best in country, and U.S. News & World Report doled out a handful of honors to the school, naming it one of the best high schools in California and recognizing that the school is also one of the most ‘college ready’ schools in the state and has one of the highest Academic Performance Index ratings as well. Last but not least, the LA Times reported that Principal Herrmann’s school had one of the highest average SAT scores for the year, coming in at 1955 (good for the sixth highest average in the state). Congratulations to Principal Herrmann and Henry M. Gunn High School!

6. Mr. John Dwyer - Lynbrook High School in San Jose - July 2013

6. Mr. John Dwyer – Lynbrook High School in San Jose

Principal John Dwyer finds his name and school on this list because of results and recognition they’ve seen at both the state and national level. BestColleges.com concluded that Lynbrook High School is the 25th best high school in the entire country for 2015, and the school was also recognized by Niche.com and School Digger as being one of the best schools in the state. The LA Times reported that Principal Dwyer’s school had the highest average SAT score in all of California, posting an astounding average of 1999. In addition, U.S. News & World Report named LHS one of the most ‘college ready’ schools in the state, reported that the school posted one of the top API scores, and named it one of the best schools in California. Congratulations to Principal Dwyer and Lynbrook High School!

5. Mr. John Walker - Campolindo High School in Moraga

5. Mr. John Walker – Campolindo High School in Moraga

Principal John Walker, the man in charge of Campolindo High School since 2012, has been critical to the launching of CHS into the upper echelon of California high schools. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education awarded CHS with a National Blue Ribbon School award, an elite honor only for the very best schools in the country. The California Department of Education also got in on the fun, naming Principal Walker’s school a 2015 California Gold Ribbon School, and Niche.com named the school one of the best in California. U.S. News & World Report unleashed a slew of honors on the school as well, naming it one of the best in the state and as having one of the best Academic Performance Index ratings, as well as naming CHS one of the most ‘college ready’ schools around. Last but not least, the LA Times reported that the school’s average SAT score of 1853 placed it in the top 15 in the state. Congratulations to Principal Walker and Campolindo High School!

4. Mr. Zack Larsen - Mission San Jose High School in Fremont

4. Mr. Zack Larsen – Mission San Jose High School in Fremont

Since being appointed Principal, Mr. Zack Larsen has been hard at work turning Mission San Jose High School into one of the top schools in the state. With an average SAT score of 1981 as reported by the LA Times, Principal Larsen’s school posted the second highest average in the state of California. U.S. News & World Report named the school one of the most ‘college ready’ school in California and noted that MSJHS also posted the 5th highest API score in the state. Principal Larsen has also been instrumental in helping his school secure a 2015 California Gold Ribbon School Award from the California Department of Education, as well as ‘Best High Schools’ in California honors from both U.S. News & World Report and School Digger (who ranked the school 11th and 18th, respectively). Congratulations to Principal Larsen and Mission San Jose High School!

3. Mr. Paul Robinson - Saratoga High School in Saratoga

3. Mr. Paul Robinson – Saratoga High School in Saratoga

Saratoga High School, one of only a handful of schools on this list to have been awarded multiple national-level awards and honors, is lead by Principal Paul Robinson. Niche.com and BestColleges.com both recognized Principal Robinson’s SHS as being one of the best high schools in the entire country. School Digger also ranked the school as one of the best in the state. The LA Times reported that Principal Dwyer’s school had the highest average SAT score in the entire state, posting an astounding average of 1999. In addition, U.S. News & World Report named LHS one of the most ‘college ready’ schools in California, reported that the school posted one of the top API scores, and named it one of the best schools around. The LA Times reported that SHS also posted the 5th highest average SAT score in the state, coming in at 1959, and Niche.com and School Digger both named the school one of the top high schools in the state, ranking it 4th and 13th respectively. Principal Robinson’s school received a handful of other accolades and honors as well, including three different honors from U.S. News & World Report. Congratulations to Principal Robinson and Saratoga High School!

2. Dr. Rhonda Buss - Whitney High School in Cerritos2. Dr. Rhonda Buss – Whitney High School in Cerritos

According to the ranking system we established for the creation of this list, only two principals managed to score a higher point total than 10, one of which was Dr. Rhonda Buss of Whitney High School. The number of honors, awards and accolades that Dr. Buss has helped WHS achieve is just astounding – The Daily Beast, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report all ranked Dr. Buss’ school as one of the best schools in the entire United States, ranking it 16th, 6th, and 22nd, respectively. The accolades don’t stop there though, as U.S. News & World Report kept it going by reporting that WHS posted the highest Academic Performance Index rating of any school in the state and was the 4th most ‘college ready’ school in California. That’s still not the end of the honors however, as School Digger and U.S. News & World Report named the school one of the best in California, and the LA Times reported that their average SAT score was the third highest in the state, coming in at an amazing average of 1980. Congratulations to Principal Buss and Whitney High School!

1. Mr. Ron Hoshi - Oxford Academy in Cypress

1. Mr. Ron Hoshi – Oxford Academy in Cypress

Last, but certainly not least, is Principal Ron Hoshi of Oxford Academy. Principal Hoshi’s Oxford Academy blew out the rest of the competition, due in part to the five (yes, five!) national awards and recognition they’ve received, including top rankings from The Daily Beast, TheBestSchools.com, BestColleges.com, U.S. News & World Report, and Newsweek, who all ranked the school among the absolute best in the entire nation (21st, 10th, 27th, 16th, and 26th respectively). At the state level, U.S. News & World Report, Niche.com and School Digger all named Principal Hoshi’s school as one of the best in California (2nd, 12th, and 3rd respectively). And as if that weren’t enough, U.S. News & World Report named Oxford Academy the 2nd most ‘college ready’ high school in the state and recognized their API score of 992 as also being good for 2nd among all California high schools. Furthermore, according to the LA Times, Principal Hoshi’s school posted the 8th highest average SAT score in the state.  Congratulations to Principal Hoshi and Oxford Academy!

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Jay Willis

Jay Willis joined Mometrix as Vice President of Sales in 2009, and has developed several key strategic relationships that have enhanced the distribution of Mometrix products. With nearly 20 years of sales experience in the publishing industry, his dedication to providing the highest quality experience for customers, coupled with his sales and marketing expertise, has resulted in significant growth of the Institutional Sales division. Learn more