WVUSD Board Approves New School Leaders

By Kelli Gile

Walnut—Three familiar faces are moving up the ranks in the Walnut Valley Unified School District for the 2016-2017 school year.

In July, the Board of Trustees approved Mary Wendland as the new principal at Collegewood Elementary, Kelly Morris as principal at Maple Hill Elementary, and David Hong as assistant principal at Diamond Bar High School.

With 16 years of educational experience, Mary Wendland returns to Walnut Valley after serving the past two years as principal at Upland Elementary School.

Prior to that, she spent a total of 13 years in WVUSD as a classroom teacher and Title I Coordinator at Vejar Elementary.

She also served as an adjunct professor in the graduate reading program at University of LaVerne for two years.

“It is an honor to return to my home district. I am humbled with gratitude and look forward to partnering with staff, students, and families at Collegewood Elementary,” Wendland said.

Wendland received her bachelor’s degree at California State University, Fullerton, master’s degree at Azusa Pacific University, and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at University of LaVerne.

She attended Walnut Valley schools and is a graduate of Walnut High, where her husband, Kevin, is a math teacher. They live in Upland and have a son and daughter that attend Vejar Elementary.

Another hometown girl, Kelly Morris, has been appointed to take the helm at Maple Hill Elementary.

During the past two years, Morris has served as an Elementary Learning Specialist at Maple Hill and Castle Rock elementary schools.  She also spent 15 years as a teacher at Maple Hill.

“I have had the great fortune of experiencing firsthand Maple Hill’s dedication to enriching the heart, mind, and spirit of each student.  The Maple Hill Community and I will continue the legacy of success and our commitment to nurturing and developing students who will make the impossible possible, and become the best versions of themselves,” she said.

Morris attended Castle Rock, Chaparral, and is a Diamond Bar High graduate.

She earned her bachelor’s degree at San Diego State University and master’s degree at Concordia University. Morris currently resides in Corona.

Veteran educator David Hong returns to WVUSD as the new assistant principal at Diamond Bar High School. The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the appointment on July 25.

“Diamond Bar High School is a special place to me. I am excited and honored to return to work with the outstanding staff and students of DBHS and the Walnut Valley Unified School District,” he said.

Hong brings 25 years of experience back to Diamond Bar High, where he served as an instructional dean, and AP Environmental Science, AP Physics, and Chemistry teacher. He also advised and coached the school’s Science Club, Science Bowl, Solar Boat, and golf teams.

He spent the past six months at Monrovia Unified School District as associate principal.

Hong has earned national respect as an AP Program Consultant for The College Board, BioInteractive Educational Ambassador for The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and AP Environmental Science Exam Leader.

Hong received his bachelor’s degree from California State Polytechnic University and master’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles.

He resides in La Habra with his wife Beverly.