Welcoming Dr. Helen Griffith to The Preuss School

Dr. Helen Griffith, Dr. Elizabeth Simmons, Dr. Becky Pettit, Dr. Pradeep Khosla at an event honoring Dr. Griffith

On Monday, I held a special reception at the Geisel House to welcome Dr. Helen Griffith into her new role as inaugural executive director of The Preuss School UC San Diego. Located on the UC San Diego campus, The Preuss School is a unique charter middle and high school for low-income students who strive to become the first in their families to graduate from college. 

Dr. Helen Griffith, Executive Director of The Preuss School UC San Diego

For Griffith, the role is a return to UC San Diego, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in communication. Most recently, Griffith was the founding executive director and CEO of е3 Civic High, a public charter high school located in the San Diego Central Public Library. She is a passionate education innovator who has led the launch and successful growth of three K-12 schools in San Diego. As executive director, she will partner with campus and community leadership to invigorate opportunity for Preuss students and propel the school’s innovative strategic vision.

AVC Alison Sanders, Dr. Helen Griffith, EVC Elizabeth Simmons, and Dean Lisa Ordoñez at an event welcoming Dr. Griffith.

The event drew many supporters of The Preuss School, some who have been involved since its inception 20 years ago. Griffith has begun getting to know every faculty, staff and board member individually to learn their perspective and inform a plan for the school’s future. Already ranked the best high school in San Diego County and seventh in the state by U.S. News & World Report, she has a vision to launch The Preuss School into the national and international spotlight as a model for closing the achievement gap.

When I first arrived at UC San Diego as Chancellor in 2012, I began to think about making a bigger commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. One of the proudest investments we’ve made is creating the Chancellor’s Associates Scholars Program, which offers local low-income students a four-year, loan-free education at UC San Diego. The Preuss School was among the first three partner schools to benefit from the program. Today we have more than 800 scholars on our campus, with a goal of growing the number to 1,000.