Friday, April 1, 2016

What's New in GUHSD

San Diego County School Board Association’s 14th Annual “Honoring our Own” Awards

Gary Schwartzwald & Dan McDowell honored as Administrators of the Year

Lisa Stewart honored as Parent Volunteer of the Year

On Friday, March 18, GUHSD was prominently featured at the San Diego County School Board Association’s 14th Annual “Honoring our Own” Awards Dinner at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel. The Valhalla Orchestra performed at the ceremony and the beautiful floral centerpieces for the tables were created by the IDEA Center High School’s Floral Design class.

One of ACSA Region 18’s priorities is to ensure that school leaders are recognized for their excellence. Through the annual San Diego County School Boards Association (SDCSBA) and ACSA Region 18 “Honoring Our Own” Awards Dinner, they honor school board members, administrators, staff, parents, college professors, and community members for their achievements and dedication to public education. Many of their honorees have gone on to be recognized at the State and National levels.

GUHSD had three award recipients:

Lisa Stewart, Parent Volunteer of the Year

Dan McDowell, Technology Administrator of the Year

Gary Schwartzwald, Career Technical Administrator of the Year

Please join me in congratulating each of them on attaining this high honor. We deeply appreciate their commitments to our schools and the field of education.

Foothills Adult Student Proves You’re Never too Old to Learn

Jose Vargas with Principal Meredith and teachers Daria Conyers and Jeremiah Stewart
Jose Vargas was born in Bananera, Guatemala, in 1946.  He attended the local school until he was in the sixth grade. In 1965 his family immigrated to the United States, first to New Jersey and then to Massachusetts. Jose worked in shipyards on the East Coast for many years. With the opportunity to move to San Diego, he took a job with Mattel toys in Tijuana, Mexico, and crossed the border each day to his home in Bonita.  Jose spent 15 years working for the toy company. 

Over the past two years Jose has been in a GUHSD program to earn his High School Equivalency through Foothills Adult School. Pictured above is Jose along with two of his teachers: Daria Conyers and Jeremiah Stewart along with Principal Jeff Meredith.  

Every day, students from all walks of life earn their High School Equivalency Certificate by passing the HiSET exam. What makes Jose Vargas special is that he accomplished this at the age of 70, proving that you’re never too old to learn or pursue your educational goals. Congratulations, Jose!

2016 All-CIF Winter Sports Stars Honored

Helix Charter's Trence Gillem, Destiny Lyng & D'Rell Gist with their awards
More than 350 student-athletes, coaches and parents celebrated the 2016 Winter All-CIF Awards Night at the San Diego Hall of Champions on March 23.

Student-athletes from eight winter sports who earned All-CIF first or second team honors were presented with the coveted Breitbard Certificate. This is named after the founder of the Hall of Champions, the late Bob Breitbard, who began the certificate program more than 60 years ago.

Of the nearly 100 athletes who were honored, eight were selected as Athletes of the Year in their respective sport. State Champion Trence Gillem of Helix Charter was selected as the top boys wrestler.

Congratulations to the following GUHSD students-athletes for their respective 2016 All-CIF Winter Sports designations noted below:


First Team:
Tommy Rutherford, Grossmont, Senior

Second Team:
Bryce Parsons, West Hills, Senior


First Team:
Satera Bates, Mount Miguel, Junior

Second Team:
Destini Anderson, Mount Miguel, Junior


First Team:
Richard Flores, Granite Hills, Senior
Jacob Odenkirk, Santana, Senior


First Team:
Alaina Melanson, West Hills, Senior
Savanna Nager, Steele Canyon, Senior

Second Team:
Claire Watkins, Helix Charter, Junior
Cameron Douma, Valhalla, Senior


First Team:
Trence Gillem, Helix Charter, Senior

Second Team:
D’Rell Gist, Helix Charter, Senior

Athlete of the Year: Trence Gillem, Helix Charter

Coach of the Year: Adam Krzywicki, Helix Charter


First Team:
Destiny Lyng, Helix Charter, Senior

Second Team:
Maria Valencia, Steele Canyon, Senior

Winter 2016 CIF San Diego Section All Academic Teams & Cymer Scholars Named

Cymer and the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) San Diego Section have announced the top-achieving winter athletic teams from each of five regions in the San Diego Section.

The CIF All Academic Teams honor the school teams in each sport and region with the highest, combined, weighted grade point averages. From each of those teams, Cymer honors the individual junior or senior with the highest, cumulative, weighted high school grade point average, and those students are known as Cymer Scholars.

East Region winners from GUHSD include:

Girls Soccer – Valhalla, 3.61 Team GPA 
Cymer Scholar: Kara Whitaker, 4.56 GPA

Girls Water Polo – Granite Hills, 3.40 Team GPA
Cymer Scholar: Sidney Hollinger, 4.66 GPA

Boys Wrestling – Grossmont, 3.13 Team GPA
Cymer Scholar: Benjamin Slater, 4.20 GPA

Congratulations to these outstanding students on their athletic and academic achievements!


Ninth District PTA Reflections Gala on 4/7

The annual Ninth District PTA Reflections Gala will be held on Thursday, April 7, 2016, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., at the San Diego County Office of Education (Rooms 401-402), 6401 Linda Vista Road in San Diego. The event is free and open to the public. 

The Reflections Gala is a great way for parents and students to be inspired by nearly 200 entries that received Award of Excellence, Award of Merit or Honorable Mention status at the Ninth District PTA round of judging. 

The art entries of seven GUHSD students will be featured: Courtney Reiter (El Capitan), Cierra Ross, Zachary Petrie, Julian Lorenzana, Desiree Rodriguez, and Ian Navarro, all from Monte Vista. Ian Navarro received an Award of Excellence for his entry that will advance to the California State PTA level. Congratulations to all on their entries.

GUHSD School Board Election Hearings Continue

The Governing Board of the Grossmont Union High School District is taking steps toward changing the trustee election process from an at large system to the establishment of trustee areas. This responds to the changing demographics of East County and reduces our legal exposure. 

The San Diego County Committee on School District Organization continues to hold Public Hearings on this topic throughout our District. Future hearings will be held at 6:00 p.m. on April 4 (Joan MacQueen Middle School Gymnasium); April 5 (Jamul Intermediate School Library); April 6 (Lemon Grove Library Community Room) and April 11 (Lakeside Union School District - Administration Center). 

The hearing notice and additional information regarding this process is available on the GUHSD website at

Superintendent Ralf Swenson