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San Diego Unified Announces Hiring of Area Superintendents and Executive Directors

NEWS RELEASE: San Diego Unified Announces Hiring of Area Superintendents and Executive Director Positions
Posted on 06/21/2023

San Diego Unified School District is proud to announce the selection of six Area Superintendents, as well as several key executive director positions in advance of the 2023-24 school year.

“We are excited to welcome this team of extraordinary educators to San Diego Unified, and we are eager to get to work so we can further our commitment to creating an equitable school system that places student needs at the center, and ensures all students, staff, and families feel like they belong and can thrive,” Superintendent Dr. Lamont Jackson said.

The six Area Superintendents are: Dr. Michel Cazary, Dr. Steven A. Dorsey, Maria Gomez, Michelle Irwin, Mitzi Merino, and Gabriel Núñez-Soria.


cazary headshotDr. Michel Cazary has been an educator for over 22 years in San Diego Unified and has served students and staff as a classroom teacher, school site and district instructional coach, and elementary school principal. She is passionate about creating physical and emotional spaces that are full of love, joy, and connection where both staff and students can be their full selves.


dorsey headshotDr. Steven A. Dorsey comes to the district from the San Diego County Office of Education where he served as executive leadership coach for equity. He has been an educational leader and professional for the last 27 years with experience as a teacher, assistant principal, principal at all three levels, and district project director. His priorities include equity and assuring that schools have a commitment to ensure that every student receives what he, she, or they need to succeed.


gomez headshotMaria Gomez has served as an educator in San Diego Unified for over 27 years. She has dedicated her career to supporting students and educational communities as a teacher, resource teacher, staff developer/peer coach, assistant principal, principal, and instructional coordinator. She has a passion for justice, equity, and the well being of all, and believes in building trusting relationships in order to help create safe environments where everyone can prosper.


shotMichelle Irwin has served the students and families of San Diego Unified for 28 years. She began her career in education as a teacher, then moved into administration and has served as both a high school and middle school principal for the last 21 years. She focuses on supporting all learners to become thoughtful and productive citizens with a sense of purpose, integrity and a curiosity about the world in which they live.


mitzi Mitzi Merino graduated from San Diego Unified, which is the same public school system she has helped lead as an area superintendent for the past 15 years. She began her career as a teacher before serving as an elementary school principal for 10 years. She is equity driven and focused on designing professional learning for school leaders, developing systems and structures for monitoring student learning, supporting principals through job embedded coaching and feedback, and putting support for student learning at the heart of her work.


nunez-soriaGabriel Núñez-Soria joins San Diego Unified after having served in education for over 20 years as a tutor, teacher, lead teacher, assistant principal, principal, and director. He strives to increase youth, family, and community wellness as well as equitable educational outcomes for students via healing-centered culturally sustaining and community responsive pedagogies, practices, and systems.


Area Superintendents are responsible for providing direct support to their assigned schools by working collaboratively with their school communities to implement the instructional policies and goals set forth by the district.

“I look forward to collaborating with this entire team as we begin preparing for the upcoming school year so we can support all students–from UTK through high school,” Deputy Superintendent Dr. Fabiola Bagula said. “I am grateful to the San Diego County Office of Education for overseeing an inclusive hiring process that valued input from our San Diego Unified community.”

In April 2023, San Diego Unified partnered with the San Diego County Office of Education to objectively oversee the hiring process for the reimagined Area Superintendent positions.

The district is now organized with six Area Superintendents – five that support elementary and UTK-8 schools in designated areas and one that will be responsible for all middle schools. High schools will continue to be overseen by Dr. Erin Richison, senior executive director of the Office of Graduation.

The areas each of the administrators will oversee will be designated later this month. The new Area Superintendents will assume their posts by July 17.

Also supporting the district’s work to create conditions for all students and staff to thrive, San Diego Unified has selected leaders for several key departments.


morsehead headshotSenior Executive Director of Human Resources, Kristine Morshead – Morshead returns to San Diego Unified as an experienced human resources leader with more than 15 years of experience, including more than 10 years in the public pre-K through 12 and higher education fields. She practices human resources with a human-centered approach and has a passion for creating and sustaining welcoming, high-functioning workplaces where employees can thrive.

watkins headshotExecutive Director of Special Education, Dr. Angelia “Niecy” Watkins – Watkins has worked in education for the past 20 years as a resource assistant in special education, a special education teacher, vice principal, university supervisor for credential teaching program, program manager in special education, and principal. She firmly believes that together we can create successful and positive academic and social/emotional outcomes for all students through strong student-centered collaborative partnerships, with staff, students, families, and community members.

irwin headshotExecutive Director of Student Services, Scott Irwin
– Irwin has extensive school administrator experience, particularly at the middle school level. In that role, he has worked closely with the Children and Youth in Transition department to better support refugee and military families and has a deep understanding of their needs and the challenges they face. Irwin has also served on many district-level committees, inclusive of professional learning for principals, online learning, and meaningful graduation. He has been a thought-partner for several district office leaders in the areas of extended learning, student schedule development, and vertical alignment.

For more information about open positions in San Diego Unified School District, visit www.schooljobs.com/careers/sandi.