Dr. Bruce Powell, founding Head of School of New Community Jewish High School in West Hills, California, is one of the preeminent visionary leaders in the movement to develop Jewish day high schools throughout America. Dr. Powell’s visionary leadership, his passion for Jewish education, and his standards of excellence, have made New Community Jewish High School the third largest Jewish community high school in the United States.
Dr. Powell, a native of Los Angeles, received his Bachelor of Arts degree from University of California, Los Angeles in English Literature and History and his Master of Arts in Education and lifetime Teaching Credential from California State University, Northridge. He earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education and Jewish Studies from the University of Southern California. His doctoral thesis examined the nature and power of informal education as it is practiced at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute in Simi Valley, California.
In addition to founding New Community Jewish High School, Dr. Powell was also instrumental in founding both Yeshiva University High Schools of Los Angeles, where he served for thirteen years as the first General Studies Principal, and Milken Community High School in Los Angeles, where he held positions of first Headmaster and first President of the school over his nine-year tenure. Before working in the administrative arena, Dr. Powell taught English and history in the public schools for seven years, pioneering a school-within-a-school program for disadvantaged youth within a large public school setting. For many years he also directed the summer programs at Camp Alonim and the Brandeis Collegiate Institute (BCI) at the Brandeis Bardin Institute. In order to meet the variety of needs of Jewish day schools throughout America, Dr. Powell founded Jewish School Management (JSM), a national consulting firm dedicated to developing and training skilled professional and lay day school leadership. Through JSM, Dr. Powell has helped to establish fifteen Jewish high schools across the country, and has helped to train passionate leaders to manage and govern these new enterprises.
Dr. Powell’s outstanding work in developing Jewish high schools in Los Angeles over the past twenty-five years brought him to the attention of the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE), a Boston-based organization at the forefront of developing new Jewish day schools throughout North America. PEJE engaged Dr. Powell as one of its lead experts in the field of Jewish high school education to guide and train both professionals and boards in the process of founding a Jewish high school. Dr. Powell continues to serve as a valued PEJE Coach, enabling the wisdom of his work developing Jewish High Schools in the Los Angeles area to benefit schools throughout the U.S. and Canada. PEJE leaders consider him to be a precious asset of the day school movement.
The AVI CHAI Foundation in collaboration with the Jewish Theological Seminary, recognized Dr. Powell’s eminence in Jewish education and selected him as one of the founding faculty members of the Day School Leadership Training Institute, a national program for training Heads of Jewish elementary and high schools. Dr. Powell also served on the faculty of the Wexner Heritage Foundation summer retreat, leading workshops in day school leadership. The Wexner Heritage program is one of the most successful Jewish leadership programs today in America with a nationally renowned and esteemed faculty.
Over the past several years, Dr. Powell has lectured nationwide on Jewish education and the power of Jewish day schools. In addition, Dr. Powell serves on the faculty of the Fingerhut School of Education at the American Jewish University (formerly, University of Judaism) as well as having taught in the Ziegler School for Rabbinic Studies.
In 2005, the Bureau of Jewish Education and the Milken Family Foundation awarded Dr. Powell with the Milken Jewish Educators Award, recognizing his outstanding contributions to Jewish education in Los Angeles in helping to found three Jewish high schools. In 2006, Dr. Powell was honored by New Community Jewish High School at a gala event, along with two of the school’s founding lay leaders, for their exemplary contributions to Jewish education. In 2007, Dr. Powell received an Honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Humane Letters) from the American Jewish University (formerly, University of Judaism). Most notably, Dr. Powell also received the prestigious “Covenant Award” — an award given by the Covenant Foundation to visionary Jewish educators who make positive changes in the communities that they serve through a combination of inventive thinking and dedication to Jewish values, expressed in kindness, generosity, and patience.