WALNUT, CA—As Walnut Valley USD students get ready to head back to class next week after summer break, educators have been busy gearing up for the new school year.
On Wednesday, nearly 1,000 teachers, classified personnel, and district leaders gathered during a Welcome Back celebration held at Calvary Chapel in Diamond Bar.
The 14th annual kick-off rally featured recognitions of over 200 long-service employees, Teachers of the Year, Cornerstone Award winners, and keynote message by Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.
“We’re looking forward to a phenomenal school year!” Dr. Taylor said to the assembled WVUSD employees.
“There’s no better environment to get us fired up for the new school year than being in this building with you.”
“This year’s All Means All slogan is a reminder of what we do every day,” Dr. Taylor added.
“It’s about differentiating so that all kids have the tools to be successful at each stage of their education, being intentional and bringing in systems of health and well-being into a child’s education, and upholding high standards for all kids.”
As staffers from all 15 schools and departments mingled and visited during the outdoor continental breakfast, 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 band under the direction of Corey Wicks and Katie Takahashi.
Walnut High senior Julia Provencio performed the national anthem after boy scout troop #777 led the opening flag ceremony.
Deputy Superintendent Dr. Matthew Witmer and Administrative Director Dr. Sergio Canal hosted the program that included over 50 raffle prizes provided by local businesses.
Bill Foley, the District Teacher of the Year and Mike Bromberg, the Classified Employee of the Year, took a few moments to address their peer.
“It’s amazing to be up here today!” said Foley, a digital photography teacher at Diamond Bar High School.
The 34-year veteran educator said he was advised in college to find a career that he was passionate about, and to know it well.
By all accounts, he’s done just that.
“What I really care about the most when I’m teaching is my students and their work,” he said proudly showing a website featuring student photography.
When Foley asked his charges if they thought he deserved the Teacher of the Year award, they confirmed his passion and dedication to serving all students.
“One student told me that I’m the most pure-hearted teacher he’d ever had,” the humble teacher shared
“None of us do this job alone. Every time you smile or say something positive to a teacher, it builds them up. I treat my fellow teachers the way that I want to be treated.
“It takes a whole district to raise a Teacher of the Year!” he added.
“I’ve worked in all our schools and have seen firsthand how important classified employees are to everyone,” said Bromberg, a former carpenter and electrician, who currently serves as the operations manager at Diamond Bar High School
“We all work as a team in Walnut Valley and we want to give the best customer service that we can.”
“In my opinion, we are the heartbeat of the school district!”
Bromberg, a WVUSD alumnus, recalled growing up always taking a keen interest when maintenance crews arrived at his school.
The men in blue would often have to remind him to “take a step back” when he got too close to the equipment
And now, Bromberg feels like he’s come full circle.
“I’m dedicated to providing a great school environment for the next generation, just as it was provided for me!”