A monthly update from the Whittier Union High School District.
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Sandra Thorstenson, Superintendent
Sandra Thorstenson
Our family of educators possesses unique strengths and abilities that continuously strengthen our thriving District, teaching our students to always be forward-thinking and innovative as they work toward college and career. With the support and dedication of our talented teachers and staff, Whittier Union will continue to provide a foundation on which our students can flourish. This is especially true for our incoming freshmen, who can discover the exciting opportunities that await them during each of our schools’ Future Frosh Night on March 31. Thank you to all who have contributed to our District’s ongoing success.
California High School
California High School arts teacher Julie Tonkovich is one of 10 public school teachers appointed to serve on the Instructional Quality Commission, an advisory body to the state Board of Education. The role will provide her with the opportunity to help develop and strengthen education standards that benefit students across the state. Under this appointment, she will advise the state Board of Education on curriculum and recommend instructional materials that will assist teachers in implementing standards-based instruction. Click here to check out the story.
La Serna High School
From April 5 to May 26, La Serna varsity basketball Coach Marino Angulo will hold a youth basketball academy to assist students in second through eighth grades with shooting, dribbling, passing and other techniques. Workouts are $10 each and will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday, immersing young students in an experience similar to one they might receive if they decide to join a team when they attend high school. For more information on the clinic, email Angulo at
Pioneer High School
Pioneer High School senior Gilbert Sandoval is now among a select few to receive a nomination letter from U.S. Rep. Linda Sánchez to attend the U.S. Naval Academy — an extraordinary honor given to just a handful of local students every year. Sandoval was among 300 hopefuls in Sanchez’s district seeking to gain a prestigious letter of recommendation from the congresswoman. Only nine letters were granted, one of which went to the proud Titan. Sandoval expects to hear in April whether he has been accepted to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He would subsequently begin classes in the fall and hopes to major in oceanography or missions operations to become a Navy SEAL. Click here to read this story in Pioneer's Spring newsletter.
Santa Fe High School
Santa Fe High School is one of 24 schools in California to earn the AVID Schoolwide Site of Distinction award, a new honor given to a select few AVID schools for their extensive commitment to providing all students with college preparation resources. Only 380 out of 5,000 AVID schools in the U.S. were eligible to apply for the Schoolwide Site of Distinction honor and 80 were chosen, with Santa Fe being Chiefs among them. Santa Fe has been an AVID campus for more than 20 years and a National Demonstration School since 2001.
Whittier High School
After helming Whittier High School for the last eight years, Principal Lori Eshilian has announced she will retire in June. A 1972 graduate of Whittier High, Eshilian has served as a support work project specialist and mentor teacher for Whittier Union, ACE Program teacher at California High School and special education support teacher, department chair, assistant principal and principal at Whittier High School. Under Eshilian’s leadership, Whittier High has won two Golden Bell Awards for innovative educational programs that promote excellence and increase student achievement.
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