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Contact James Barnes  James Barnes (650) 712-7200 ex: 5030 Assistant Principal
Contact John Nazar  John Nazar (650) 712-7200 ex: 5050 Principal
Contact Deanna Tower  Deanna Tower (650) 712-7200 ex: 5040 Assistant Principal
John Nazar, Principal HMBHS

Principal NazarMr. Nazar is in his forth year as Principal of Half Moon Bay High School. Serving as a high school social studies teacher for 17 years including six years at Half Moon Bay High (1995 - 2001), nine years as Cunha assistant principal, and five as principal in  San Carlos, he brings a wealth of educational experience and leadership to the school. Mr. Nazar grew up in San Francisco, graduating from Lowell High School. He earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science and a minor in Communications from California State University, Chico and his master's degree in Educational Administration from San Francisco State University. He has attended the Association of California School Administrators Principals Academy at UCLA, and is consistently studying the latest  research for best practices. During his teaching tenure, among many things, he was a department chair-person, modeled lessons for the County Office of Education professional development program, was a class advisor, coached numerous athletic teams, served as a master teacher for many student teachers and proudly was awarded the HMBHS yearbook dedication from the class of 2000. As principal of Tierra Linda Middle School in San Carlos, his school was recognized as a 2013 California Distinguished School. He also worked closely with district leaders to develop a new comprehensive district strategic plan. Mr. Nazar is a resident of Half Moon Bay, where his two children attended Cabrillo Unified School District schools and are graduates of Half Moon Bay High School. He enjoys golfing, fishing, reading American history and running on the Coast Trail.  He believes a collaborative school environment, working with teachers, staff, students, parents and  community members is essential for creating an enriching educational experience.

James Barnes, Assistant Principal for Pupil Services


I’m James Barnes and I am a long-time member of the Half Moon Bay High School community, having taught social studies here for fourteen years. And now it has been a fantastic experience to be working in my current role as Assistant Principal of Pupil Services.

Born in Cambridge, England, I came with my family to this country as a small boy and  I grew up all over the South, eventually settling in Richmond, Virginia. There I attended Collegiate High School (also Cougars!) and went to the University of Virginia where I received a BA and Master's degree in Anthropology. I moved to Montana and Oregon where I worked for environmental publications and organizations and got my teaching credential and Master's in Education at the University of Oregon.

I first came to Half Moon Bay and California  in 2001 as a brand new social studies teacher. Since then I took on many roles at HMBHS, including Social Studies Department Chair, Healthy Kids Survey Coordinator, CUTA site representative, WASC Visiting Team Leader and HMBHS Chair during our successful 2010 accreditation visit, and Summer School Principal.

My wife and I have raised my son on the Coastside, sending him through the Cabrillo district, and I’m committed to making Half Moon Bay High School the best it can be. My guiding principle is to serve our students and our community to the utmost of my ability.

Deanna Tower, Assistant Principal for Pupil Services 

After teaching at Half Moon Bay High School for 18 years, Deanna Tower has stepped into the role of Assistant Principal of Pupil Services. Having taught alongside Mr. Nazar and Mr. Barnes for many years, she is thrilled to now be working with them on the administrative team! 

Over the years, Deanna taught Math, English, and Leadership. She was also involved in the Site Leadership Team and WASC, both as a Visiting Team Member and Chair and as a Lead for the HMBHS Visits. She coached Varsity Softball for 15 years, as well as several years of both Volleyball and Basketball. As a coach, she loved sharing inspirational quotes with her players and analyzing the mental part of the game. She constantly reminded her players that "hard work pays off." Sports are one of her lifelines, whether playing or watching. If the tv is on at home, it's usually because there's a game on (Let's Go Giants!).  

Born and raised on the coast, Ms. Tower is a proud alumna of the Cabrillo Unified School District. In addition to her love for education is her love for the Coastside! The black and orange roots run deep...and she loves pumpkin-everything! Above all is her love for her family, including two littles who are future CUSD students. "What is so special about Half Moon Bay High School is that we are a family here as well. Our students and staff exude a tremendous amount of school pride and unity! There's nothing like it! GO COUGARS!"