Skip to main content

Walnut valley Unified School District

Main Menu Toggle
ALLmeansALL! Walnut Valley USD is proud to be a National Schools to Watch District with numerous National Blue Ribbon, California Gold Ribbon, and California Distinguished School awards. Our motto is KIDS FIRST... Every Student, Every Day!  

Walnut Valley Salutes Top Teachers - Virtually

The 2020 Salute to Teachers program may be viewed at

October 23, 2020

By Kelli Gile, WVUSD Office of Community Resources

WALNUT, CA—Walnut Valley Unified School District paid tribute to an extraordinary group of educators during the 23rd annual Salute to Teachers virtual celebration on October 21.

The 2019-2020 Teachers of the Year serve with praiseworthy distinction and share a passion for making a positive difference in the lives of their students.

Congratulations to the following honorees: Christa Richard – Castle Rock Elementary, Ken Weeks – Chaparral Middle School, Thy Nguyen – C.J. Morris Elementary, Melani Garrett – Collegewood Elementary, Lily Chang – Evergreen Elementary, Ty Watkins – Diamond Bar High, Amber Swartz – Maple Hill Elementary, Rhonda Barnes – Quail Summit Elementary, Cynthia McBride – Ron Hockwalt Academies, Robin Wadsworth – South Pointe Middle School, Melanie Kobayashi – Suzanne Middle School, Jamie Highstreet – Vejar Elementary, Janet Ahn – Walnut Elementary, Jerry Knox – Walnut High School, and Wendy Simpson – Westhoff Elementary.

Deputy Superintendent Dr. Matt Witmer and Assistant Superintendent Diane Perez hosted the virtual event with special messages from Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor, Board of Trustees President Larry Redinger, and WVEA President Lisa Peterson.

“You represent an outstanding class of over 700 teachers here in Walnut Valley,” said Superintendent Taylor.

“And to all our teachers, classified staff, and the entire organization, thank you for all that you do to continue to serve our kids during this unprecedented time,” Dr. Taylor added in reference to the global pandemic.

“Even with the many challenges, obstacles, frustrations, and anxieties that come with change of this magnitude, you have continued to provide a great opportunity for our kids to learn – and I truly appreciate it.”

At the culmination of the presentation, Ty Watkins was announced as the 2020 District Teacher of the Year.

He was also named a semifinalist in the prestigious Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year competition.

The 26-year veteran educator has taught Social Science at Diamond Bar High for the past 16 years.

“Ty serves as a model of Brahma pride, providing students with exceptional learning opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom,” lauded Principal Dr. Reuben Jones.

He supports AP US History and AP Human Geography classes, and provides mentorship and guidance to the Pathways Communications Academy students as the Leadership teacher. 

“As we go through these unprecedented times, just because you are in your classroom by yourself or at home, you’re not alone,” Watkins advised fellow teachers during his video message.

“Make sure to reach out and embrace your village – these are the people that you can rely on!”

Prior to the program, District and school officials delivered gift baskets with generous donations from community supporters to the honorees’ homes and classrooms.

Each Teacher of the Year received an engraved apple award courtesy of the Walnut Valley Educational Foundation.

A special thanks to the following Salute to Teachers sponsors: Massage Envy, Schools First Federal Credit Union, Chaffey Federal Credit Union, Sandy Best – McGriff Insurance, Complete Business Solutions, and Walnut Valley Administrator’s Association.

In addition, the top educators received certificates recognition from City of Diamond Bar, City of Walnut, Congressman Gil Cisneros, Senator Ling Ling Chang, and Assemblyman Phillip Chen.


Honoring Our Best! Walnut Valley USD honors the 2019-2020 Teachers of the Year during a virtual Salute to Teachers on October 21. 

Ty Watkins from Diamond Bar High is the 2020 WVUSD District Teacher of the Year. 

District Teacher of the Year Ty Watkins delivers virtual acceptance speech with his tribe of DBHS colleagues.