My name is Negar Mizani and I feel grateful and humbled to have been named your new principal. I am eager to meet with and get to know our entire community of staff, scholars, and families. Most recently, I was an assistant principal at Alliance William and Carol Ouchi High School in South-Central Los Angeles, and prior to moving here, I served scholars in Denver Public Schools both as a high school English teacher and a high school leader. Teaching has always been a dream and a passion for me. I entered this field 15 years ago as a recently documented immigrant working in a school community for scholars who have traditionally and historically been underserved and marginalized. My “why” is profoundly rooted in my personal and professional experiences—I believe that public education, the cornerstone of our democracy, is a pillar of equity and justice in our society.
I was born and raised in Tehran, and moved to the United States at the tender age of 14. By learning English as a second language, and living as an undocumented immigrant throughout my high school and college years, I have developed a deep sense of empathy, compassion, and understanding for our scholars’ life experiences. I am also deeply interested in intersectional social justice, and the many ways our circumstances converge to form our identities. I am fortunate to be married to a partner, Danny, with whom I can share this passion, and who constantly serves as a sounding board for me in my pursuit of justice. We are parents to a toddler, Alula Paz, and whenever possible, we enjoy spending time at the park, going on family walks, reading, attending plays, dance performances, museums, and art exhibits, listening to podcasts, and connecting with family and friends. We hope Alula grows up to pursue justice and makes Gabrielino home once she reaches her high school years.
I want you to know that together, this year, we will focus on strengthening a positive school culture and climate by promoting scholar, teacher, and parent agencies. We will strengthen our instructional practices through observation and feedback, and we will begin to sow the seeds of abolitionist teaching and learning by ensuring that all scholars have access to rigorous courses, and are granted the opportunity to graduate with multiple post-secondary pathways. Please know that I will also continue to remain devoted to strengthening our already robust and nationally recognized programs, and explore ideas to expand our existing opportunities. This is all to ensure that we continue to keep true to academic rigor combined with creativity to engage the hearts and minds of young people, which will ultimately ready them to serve as change agents of our communities.
As we work together during the year, I invite you to stay in contact with our school community. I value team-work, open communication, and a dedication to continuous growth, and this is rooted in a desire to see our scholars delight in and enjoy learning.
As I conclude this letter, I want to share with you a quote from a poem by one of my favorite contemporary poets, Ocean Vuong: “The end of the road is so far ahead/it is already behind us.” ~Someday I’ll Love Ocean Vuong
I look forward to our year together.
Principal Negar Mizani
Gabrielino High School