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Meet Our Principals


Mike Goldstein

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Mike Goldstein is beginning his 19th year in the Hawthorne School District.  He grew up in Santa Cruz California and attended college at the University of Redlands, where he played football and earned a BA in History. After graduating in 1997, he received his teaching credential and MA in Cross Cultural Teaching from National University.  In 1999 Mr. Goldstein was hired by the Hawthorne School District.  He worked at Hawthorne Middle School for 7 years as an 8th grade Language Arts/ Social Studies and Special Projects teacher.  During that time he enrolled in the Educational Administrative program at California State University Northridge, and graduated with an MA in Educational Administration in 2006.  Prior to becoming principal at Eucalyptus, Mr. Goldstein served as Assistant Principal at HMS (2006-2008) and Eucalyptus (2009) and Principal at York Elementary School from 2009-2013.

Mr. Goldstein lives in Redondo Beach with his wife Cynthia and two daughters; Cyndi (age 12) and Amanda (age 11). When he’s not at work, Mr. Goldstein enjoys traveling with his family.  He is excited to begin his 5th year as the Principal of Eucalyptus Elementary School. 

SchoolJosh Godin

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Josh Godin has been in the Hawthorne School District for 15 years. He started as a 5th grade teacher at Kornblum. He then left to teach 1st grade in New Mexico for one year, but he came back the next year to Jefferson Elementary. Mr. Godin taught a 1st and 2nd grade combination class, 3rd grade, and 4th grade while at Jefferson. He left Jefferson to become the Special Projects Teacher at Prairie Vista Middle School for 2 years. For the past four years he was the Assistant Principal at Bud Carson Middle School. This will be Mr. Godin’s first year as Principal at Jefferson!

Mr. Godin is excited to be back home at Jefferson and ready for a great year! He is excited to work with the outstanding staff at Jefferson and looks forward to a fun filled year with many opportunities for parents to see the successes at Jefferson. He knows the students will grow academically and socially throughout the year as they participate and experience all of the programs offered during the school day and afterschool as well.

For fun Mr. Godin likes to do many outdoor sports, such as surfing, basketball, and running with his two dogs on the beach, Morgan, 2 ½ and Cali, 2 years old. Mr. Godin grew up in Oregon and went to college at Portland State University. In college he played football and ran track. Mr. Godin also loves to travel with his wife of 10 years.


Mytress Middleton
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Mytress Middleton is pleased to be the new principal of Kornblum Elementary School for the 2022-2023 school year. She is a graduate of Cal State Dominguez Hills where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in English Linguistics. Soon after, she attended Chapman University where she received her teaching credential and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Mrs. Middleton has been in education for 27 years and most recently held the positions as assistant principal of Bud Carson Middle School for five years. During her career, she has also served as family outreach teacher, English learner special projects teacher, intervention teacher, classroom teacher and classroom aide.

Mrs. Middleton began her career in private school and transitioned to public school. She has had the pleasure of working in a variety of districts such as Tracy Unified, Jefferson and Bayshore School Districts, Inglewood Unified, and Los Angeles Unified until she found her home in Hawthorne School District in 2003. Mrs. Middleton has taught at both the elementary and middle school levels and is delighted to return to working with younger youth at Kornblum. She is a true believer that with discipline, hard work and confidence, students will achieve. Cardinal birds are said to be a sign of hope and joy, so Mrs. Middleton is looking forward to life as a Kornblum Cardinal.


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Marisa Stewart is honored to be the new principal of Ramona School. Mrs. Stewart was born and raised in the SouthBay area and has spent her entire career in education serving the families of the Hawthorne School district for the past 25+ years.

Mrs. Stewart has worked in the Hawthorne School District since 1996 where she began her career in education as an instructional aide at Zela Davis School. She became a bilingual teacher at Zela Davis and then later moved to Ramona School at the inception of the Two-Way Bilingual Immersion Program. She taught at Ramona School for several years until moving to the district office as the first district English Learner Specialist and earning district Teacher of the Year. Once completing the certificate for administration, Mrs. Stewart worked at Hawthorne Middle School, Eucalyptus School and Prairie Vista South as assistant principal. Her first principalship was at Kornblum School where she was the principal for the last four years. She received her bachelor’s degree from California State University Long Beach. She completed her teaching credential program at Chapman University in Fullerton and later her Master’s Degree and Administrative Credential through California State University Dominguez Hills.

Mrs. Stewart is excited to return to Ramona School as site principal. She is looking forward to being a Ramona Ram and developing relationships with the outstanding students, staff and families at Ramona.


Gina Cardillo

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Gina Cardillo is honored to be the new principal at York Elementary School. She was born and raised in Rhode Island, but always dreamed of pursuing her passion for public education in California. In 2002, Ms. Cardillo graduated from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts with a BA in Sociology and a concentration in Education. After graduating, she moved to San Jose, CA to volunteer with City Year, an AmeriCorps program. Ms. Cardillo returned to the East Coast in 2003 and began working as a preschool teacher. She earned a Master's Degree from Providence College in 2007, while working as a high school special education teacher.

Ms. Cardillo accepted a teaching position with the Los Angeles Unified School District and relocated to Los Angeles in 2007. She began working for the Hawthorne School District in 2009 as a special education teacher at York Elementary School.

Since then, she has served as the dean of students at Bud Carson Middle School, project facilitator of school climate for the district, assistant principal of Eucalyptus Elementary School and Hawthorne Middle School, and special education preschool administrator. Ms. Cardillo received the District Office Teacher of the Year Award in 2018 while serving as project facilitator of school climate. She earned her Administrative Credential from California State University, Long Beach in that same year.

Ms. Cardillo is excited to return to York and looks forward to working with students, families and staff!


Akila Jones
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Akila Jones is honored to be the new principal of Washington Elementary School. Ms. Jones was born and raised in Washington, D.C., and completed her professional education in California. Ms. Jones has spent 23+ years in education serving families of the Hawthorne School District. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work from San Diego State University. She completed her Teaching Credential program, Master of Arts degree in Education, and Administrative Credential through California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Ms. Jones has worked in the Hawthorne School District since 1999, where she began her career in education as a substitute teacher. In 2000, she became a first-grade teacher at Eucalyptus School and later moved to Hawthorne Middle School in 2006. While at Hawthorne Middle School, Ms. Jones served in three roles; Special Projects teacher for seven years (where she earned Teacher of the Year (2009), assistant principal for four years, and principal for the last four years. Ms. Jones is pleased to begin her fifth year as principal at Washington School. 

In addition to her professional achievements, her greatest accomplishments are her children- Kiahna and Jacob. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing with her dog Maui and traveling the world. 

Ms. Jones’ vision for Washington Elementary School is to improve student outcomes through quality instruction, professional development, research evidence-based practices, coaching, mentoring, and collaboration. Ms. Jones is excited to be a Washington Wildcat site principal.

Zela Davis

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Miguelina Lopez started her career in the Hawthorne School District in 1995 as an instructional assistant at Williams School (now Zela Davis- East Campus). After graduating from CSU Dominguez Hills with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies, Ms. Lopez remained at Williams School as a fourth-grade teacher. After nine years of teaching fourth grade, Ms. Lopez transferred to Ramona School as a second-grade Two-Way Bilingual Immersion Teacher. After that, Ms. Lopez became the English Learner Special Projects Teacher at Ramona School for several years. Ms. Lopez went to the district office in 2012 and served as the English Learner Specialist for six years. In 2018, Ms. Lopez was promoted to Assistant Principal of Zela Davis School. Ms. Lopez is excited to start her first year as Principal at Zela Davis School this current school year 2022-2023!

Ms. Lopez lives in Torrance with her two children. She enjoys long walks around her neighborhood, the local parks, and the beach.

Ms. Lopez looks forward to promoting academic success and building strong home-school connections with families, students, teachers, and school staff in the 2022-2023 school year.

Bud Carson
Middle School

LaTima Jones
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LaTima Jones began her fifth year as the principal at Kornblum Elementary School. Under her leadership, Kornblum received the prestigious honor of being named a Gold Ribbon School for parent involvement and The Title I Academic Achievement Award by the State of California in the 2016.  She leading Kornblum School in integrating STEM through Project Lead the Way into the curriculum and events this school year. 

She has been an employee of the Hawthorne School District since 1997 as an elementary teacher, literacy coach, and assistant principal at the elementary and middle school levels.

Ms. Jones graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) in 1995 with a degree in psychology. She earned her teaching credential through Chapman University and attended Pepperdine University to complete her master’s degree.

Ms. Jones was a student-athlete throughout her years at USC, earning the Scholar Athlete Award of Honor for Academic Excellence, as receiving a solid education was her primary goal. She earned All-American honors in track and field, was a Pac-10 Conference champion, and qualified for the 1996 Olympic Trials. She uses these experiences to connect with students. She stresses that education is the foundation on which they will build all of their future success. 


Bud Carson
Middle School

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John Paterson is proud to be the new principal of Bud Carson Middle School. He earned his bachelor's degree in liberal studies from California State University Dominguez Hills, with an emphasis in mathematics. He also holds a master's degree, in the field of Educational Technology, from Pepperdine University.

Mr. Paterson began his career with the Hawthorne School District in 2004, as a 4th and 5th grade teacher at Zela Davis. Then he became a teacher on special assignment, for three years, as District Math Coach. Mr. Paterson served, in an administrative role, at several Hawthorne 
schools, including Prairie Vista, York, and Zela Davis. His goal is to promote the success of all students by maintaining a safe learning environment, where they can maximize their potential as members in a community of lifelong learners and strive to positively contribute to our advancing global society.

Middle School

Martha Castellanos
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Martha Castellanos is proud to serve the Hawthorne community as Hawthorne Middle School Principal. She looks forward to collaborating with HMS staff to create a safe learning environment that fosters a great middle school experience for students. Her personal experience is similar to the students she works with as she grew up and currently lives in the area. By building relationships with families, Ms. Castellanos aims to gain insight about support needed to help students maximize their potential and achieve. She believes that the middle school years are essential in developing the skills and habits that will prepare students for high school.

Ms. Castellanos has over 25 years of experience, focused in middle school and high school education. Most recently, Ms. Castellanos served as the Hawthorne Math and Science Academy Assistant Principal for seven years. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of La Verne in Journalism and Spanish, and Teaching Credential and Master’s Degree in Multicultural Education from California State University, Dominguez Hills. Ms. Castellanos enjoys spending time with her husband and three daughters, and traveling to explore new cultures.

Prairie Vista
Middle School

Wendy Ostensen
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Wendy Ostensen is excited to be the principal of Prairie Vista Middle School, Home of the Panthers. She has been in the field of education for 27 years. During this time she has been a science teacher, activity director, middle school site administrator, and elementary school site administrator. She is proud to have worked in the Hawthorne School District for her entire educational career, and she is an honored recipient of HSD Leadership Awards in 2007 and 2018. Ms. Ostensen earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology from California State University, Long Beach and her Master’s Degree/ Administrative Credential from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Ms. Ostensen grew up in southern California and resides in Hawthorne, “The City of Good Neighbors.” Her two sons are former HSD students, so she also approaches the job from a Hawthorne parent’s point of view. She is excited to continue collaboration with the dedicated PVMS staff to continue the focus on academic standards in order to prepare students for success in college and career readiness.  Ms. Ostensen is also looking forward to working with PVMS’ students and parents in order to improve and enrich student achievement. Ms. Ostensen embraces the school’s fine arts academy which showcases students’ wonderful talents in art, music, theatre, and dance. 

Hawthorne Math & Science Academy

Esau Berumen
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Principal Esau Berumen has been member of the Hawthorne School District family since 1997. He began his career as a long term substitute teacher at York Elementary School. After one month as a substitute teacher, he became the 7th Grade Life Science teacher at Hawthorne Intermediate School, which is now known as Hawthorne Middle School.

In 2003, Mr. Berumen applied for and became the first Biology teacher at the soon to be open Hawthorne Math & Science Academy, HMSA. He is one of the six HMSA founding teachers. As the school grew, he became the Science Department Chair and the school’s College Prep Advisor.  During his last year of teaching Biology at HMSA, he received the school’s Teacher of the Year award.  In 2007, Mr. Berumen became the assistant principal of HMSA, and in 2010 he became HMSA’s third principal. In 2016, Mr. Berumen was awarded the Hawthorne School District's Roger G. Bly Leadership Award. During his tenure, HMSA has been awarded the National Blue Ribbon Award twice, 2010 and 2016.

Mr. Berumen earned his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Occidental College.  He earned both his teaching credential and his first Master’s degree in Cross Cultural Education from National University.  In 2004, he went back to school to earn both his administrative credential and second Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from California State University Northridge. In 2012, Occidental College’s Alumni Association awarded him the Young Alumni Seal Award. Recently, Occidental College’s Alumni Association awarded Mr. Berumen the 2017 Alumni Seal Award for Professional Achievement.

Mr. Berumen has been married for 15 years and is father to three children. Two of his children will be attending schools in the Hawthorne School District this coming year. In his free time, he enjoys being with his family, reading books, and watching an occasional game of rugby.

Prairie Vista

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Mrs. Cruz-Brown has been with the Hawthorne School District since 1998. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1998 with a degree in sociology and earned her teaching credential from California State University, Dominguez Hills in 2003. In 2004, she received her master’s degree in administration from Pepperdine University.

Mrs. Cruz-Brown began her teaching career at Eucalyptus School, where she taught second and fifth grades. After nine years as a “koala-ty” educator, she became a hawk at Hawthorne Middle School, where she taught sixth grade math and science and played an integral part in the expansion of the Two-Way Bilingual Immersion Academy (TWBI). In 2012 she became the math coach for Washington and Kornblum Elementary Schools. After two years of coaching, she served as the assistant principal at Zela Davis Elementary School where she helped implement the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program. She served as the principal of Washington Elementary School for the last years.  She is now enthusiastic about starting her new position as the Preschool Programs Coordinator for the Hawthorne School District.

Mrs. Cruz-Brown grew up in Southern California and now resides in Lakewood, California with her family. They have always encouraged her to grow professionally and try new things. Mrs. Cruz-Brown enjoys traveling and making memories with her family.

Special Education
Cathy Williams
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Cathy Williams is beginning her fifth year in the Hawthorne School District, serving as principal of special education. Ms. Williams has dedicated her working career in supporting special education programs throughout the south bay.

Ms. Williams attended Loyola Marymount University receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with a concentration in special education. Continuing her education at Loyola Marymount, Ms. Williams completed her Master of Arts in Special Education in 2011.

Ms. Williams began her career as a special education teacher in 2009 in the Compton Unified School District. After dedicating nine years to the programs in Compton, Cathy began her work with the Southwest SELPA where she gained experience and collaboration with twelve south bay school districts.

In 2018 Ms. Williams began working with the Hawthorne School District in her current position as principal of special education. Ms. Williams is honored to work with all students in the district and has a focus on developing inclusive programs for students of diverse needs.