Little Firecracker

Assistant Principal Receives New Position

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photo courtesy of Mitzi Powell

As her daughter, Aven Powell, pretends to be a CPHS News Reporter, AP Mitzi Powell smiles on the sidelines of Gupton Stadium in 2019. After three and a half years as assistant principal at CPHS, Powell is leaving to take the job as the district’s Career Development Coordinator. “I just want to say thank you to everyone who embraced me when I first got hired here and who has been part of my journey and coaching me and actually listening to me and supporting me along the way,” Powell said.

Estefani Rios, Editor-in-Chief

She has spent 6,837,339 minutes at CPHS as a teacher, transition coordinator and an assistant principal, and in less than 3,019 minutes, she will move on to the next step in her career. 

Assistant principal Mitzi Powell has taken a job as the district’s Career Development Coordinator in the spring semester. In her new job, Powell said she will work with the district’s senior and assistant directors for Career and Technical education. She will focus on implementing career and development experiences at the middle school and elementary levels, something not currently included in the opportunities the district offers. 

“[I’m] super excited about this, this is a passion I’ve had probably since I started in education,” Powell said. “I did the college transition coordinator job here for eight years, so I worked a lot with college admissions and career planning and thought long and hard about ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a whole system for this district-wide?’ The idea of this job has been in the back of my mind for a while, so I’m super excited about it.” 

Powell has been part of the CPHS faculty since 2007. She taught Geometry and Algebra II for two years, after which she took over as the college and career transition coordinator when the former coordinator retired. As the Transition Coordinator, Powell helped juniors and seniors with post secondary planning.

“Out of undergrad, I went to graduate school and got a master’s in university administration and did that with this sort of idea that I wanted to help college students figure out what they wanted to do when they grow up,” Powell said. “Through some of that process, I figured out that high school was really where I wanted to be because the earlier you can figure that out the better.”

Through her different jobs, Powell has worked not only with hundreds of students but also worked closely with the CTE department as Transition Coordinator and as the Assistant Principal over the CTE department. 

“I think what they do in career and development education and the electives is important, a lot of times it’s the reasons some kids come to school every day,” Powell said. “Offering kids opportunities to figure out what they want to do or figure out what they don’t want to do, to me, is really important, so I love those teachers.” 

Powell went through Region 13 to earn her principal certification and accepted the assistant principal job in 2017 and moved her office to the other side of campus and joined the AP team as the fifth member. She said she holds a sense of admiration for the faculty and other AP’s as a result of her direct relations with them.

“These assistant principals are one of the best teams I’ve ever worked with,” Powell said. “They are super hard-working, but at the core, I think that what we all have in common is that students first and our passion for this school and making it better. The job is stressful and it’s hard, but it’s super rewarding to see the payoff.”

Having worked with Powell for five years, Assistant Principal Phillip Pearce said he felt she was always someone who he could talk to and rely on. As coworkers, Pearce said he was able to experience the way Powell leads by example for not only students, but the faculty.

“I could go to her and talk to her about anything that I needed to when she was in that [transition coordinator] office,” Pearce said. “When she came over here to be an AP with us, it just added to the friendship and the connection. She is a fantastic lady. I call her a little firecracker because she has a fire inside of her that none of us in this hallway can match.”

Despite his sadness about her departure, principal John Sloan said he is excited about the opportunity Powell has ahead of her. Working with Powell, Sloan said he witnessed the passion and dedication she has for her job. 

“Mrs. Powell is really passionate and caring and she wears her heart on her sleeve,” Sloan said. “She’d do anything for anybody, but she is also extremely conscientious in her working. She puts everything she has into what she’s doing, and she’s been so dedicated to the school and to her job. She’s also a wonderful mother and a wonderful family person.” 

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With over a decade at CPHS, Powell said she has felt herself grow through her position and said the close-knit feel of the community makes leaving campus very difficult. 

“I grew as a person [and] as an educator,” Powell said. “One of the things we always say in interviews when we are interviewing other people to come teach here is that this place really is a family, and even though we are in a suburb of a big city, it feels like a small town and everybody takes care of each other. This is a place where we don’t just support each other in school or in academics, but also outside, and personally for me it’s like what’s made this place so special and it’s the hardest part to walk away from.” 

As Powell finishes her last days as Assistant Principal, she said she is very thankful for not only the teachers she’s worked with but also the opportunities she’s been granted. Moving forward, Powell said she doesn’t feel that she will lose connection with the people she’s connected with over the last few years of her career. 

“I don’t see any scenario where I don’t maintain relationships with these people because they have been such a big part of my world for so long,” Powell said. “Thank you to all the teachers in this building. I think I’ve talked a lot about my department and my team specifically, but I have worked here for such a long time that I have relationships with teachers from all over the building. I just want to say thank you to everyone who embraced me when I first got hired here and who has been part of my journey and coaching me and actually listening to me and supporting me along the way. I feel so grateful about some of the opportunities that I’ve been given in this building and the opportunities to work with students and help kids in this community. Thank you.”