Top of the World Elementary School welcomes new principal


Current Deerfield Elementary School principal, Julie Hatchel is pictured with her husband, Steve Hatchel, a science teacher at Ladera Ranch Middle School. Dr. Hatchel will formally take the helm at TOW on April 20.

Willie Rounaghi, Editor-in-Chief

After a thorough and complete process that started with 16 applicants, LBUSD has selected Dr. Julie Hatchel as Top of the World Elementary School’s next principal.



  • 30 years as an educator

  • Started as a Middle School and Elementary School English teacher

  • Administrator for the last 20 years

  • Current principal at Deerfield Elementary School

  • Teaches for the doctoral and masters program in Educational Leadership at CSU Fullerton and Hope International University



What have you learned from your experience in education?

“I’ve learned that every student matters, and it’s our job to help them build capacity and reach their potential.  I’ve learned to listen intently, build relationships, be open to new ideas, and provide support where needed. I’ve learned that our learning never ends and to be continually open to stretching and growing.  Finally, I’ve learned to choose joy, instill hope in others, smile…and have fun.”

What skills as an administrator will you bring to TOW?

“While it’s not necessarily a ‘skill,’ I believe that my life experience as an educator, mom of 2 kids (a junior in high school and sophomore in college), and wife of a teacher will be assets to TOW.  I want to help provide an experience to our students, parents, and staff members that I’d want for my own children and family. My breadth of experience in education has allowed me to learn a lot about leadership and serving others.  I love working with people and truly enjoy my work. I have a good sense of humor, like to laugh a lot, and will bring a balanced, healthy, and positive perspective to our school.”

What is your outlook or hope for the school under your administration?

“TOW is a great school, and I hope to honor its traditions while working with our community to build upon its success.  I hope to build strong relationships, celebrate achievement, and have fun.”

What can you share regarding your life beyond the school setting?

“I enjoy cooking, dancing, traveling, nature, and being with my family and friends.  We have a ‘second home’ in Brian Head Utah and love spending time skiing in the winter and enjoying the natural parks (especially hiking ‘The Narrows’) in the summer.  I’m a ‘local,’ growing up in Huntington Beach, and have been settled in South County (RSM) for the past 25 years. My daughter, Holly, is a sophomore at Concordia University in Irvine, majoring in Health Care Administration, and my son, Cory, is a junior at Tesoro High School.  We spend a lot of time ‘on the sidelines’ watching him play soccer and run track and cross country. My husband, Steve, is a Science teacher, and we’ll be celebrating turning 50 this year, as well as our 25th wedding anniversary!”