August 10, 2018
By Kelli Gile, WVUSD Office of Community Resources
WALNUT, CA--Nearly 1,000 teachers, classified personnel, and district leaders gathered to kick off the 2018-2019 school year during a Welcome Back celebration held this week at Calvary Chapel in Diamond Bar.
The 15thannual rally featured recognitions of over 200 long-service employees, Teachers of the Year, Cornerstone Award winners, and keynote message by Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.
As staffers from all 15 schools and departments mingled and visited during the outdoor continental breakfast on August 8, they enjoyed music provided by the Diamond Bar High commercial music rock band under the direction of Steve Acciani and Daryl Hernandez.
Inside the venue, the program began with pep music provided by 100 members of the Walnut High Blue Thunder marching band under the direction of Corey Wicks and Katie Takahashi.
Diamond Bar High junior Taylor Moore took the stage to perform the national anthem and boy scout troop #777 led the opening flag ceremony.
“Regardless of what your job is and what you do – all of you touch kids in a way that betters their education. And for that, I really thank you,” Superintendent Dr. Taylor said to the assembled group.
The schools chief reminded educators that the impact they have on their students lasts “forever and is truly immeasurable.”
Over the summer, Walnut Valley was recognized as a National Schools to Watch District – one of only 17 out of more than 11,000 school districts in America.
“This is truly an amazing achievement,” Dr. Taylor said.
To mark the occasion, every employee received a “I work for a nationally recognized school district” t-shirt symbolizing the District’s 48 years of excellence, tradition, and history.
In addition, the WVUSD staff members were given backpacks filled with classroom supplies made possible through a generous donation.
“We want to say thank you for all that you do and hope this helps you have a fresh start to the new school year!” Dr. Taylor said.
Deputy Superintendent Dr. Matthew Witmer and Administrative Director Dr. Sergio Canal hosted the special event that included over 30 raffle prizes provided by local businesses.
Criss Sykes, the District Teacher of the Year and Kathy Frith, the Classified Employee of the Year, offered encouraging words to their peers during the program.
“It just takes one teacher, who teaches with passion and warmth to spark a child into a life of amazement. And here in Walnut Valley our students have 600 such teachers!” said Criss Sykes, a third-grade teacher at Quail Summit Elementary.
“This is a fantastic community and I am so proud to be a small part of it,” commented District Office receptionist Kathy Frith about the caring and supportive culture at the schools.
“Classified or certificated, it is the people here in Walnut Valley that make it such an amazing place!”
Walnut Valley is a great place to be! Induction Program Director Julie Sheldon (right) greets Walnut Elementary teacher Isabelle Lin at the Welcome Back program.
Friendship, Food, Prizes, and Fun! Walnut Valley USD staff members gather during 15thannual Welcome Back program on August 8.
Talented musicians from Diamond Bar and Walnut High perform at Welcome Back.
Boy scout troop #777 leads opening flag ceremony.
Diamond Bar High junior Taylor Moore performs national anthem before nearly 1,000 WVUSD staff members.
Classified Employee of the Year Kathy Frith addresses WVUSD staff members
District Teacher of the Year Criss Sykes encourages peers to spark students into a life of amazement.
Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor discusses his five focus areas during Welcome Back program on August 8.