March 22, 2022
By Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
WALNUT, CA— The Walnut Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees has unanimously approved the following administrative appointments.
Outstanding “Kids First” educator Dr. Mary Wendland was named director of Educational Projects and Assessment during the March 16 meeting. Bringing 22 years of experience to her new post, Dr. Wendland has served as principal at Collegewood Elementary since 2016. This year, she additionally provided oversight of the TK-8 districtwide Virtual Learning/Independent Study Program as interim director of Expanded Learning Opportunities. Prior to that, Dr. Wendland was a classroom teacher and Title I coordinator at Vejar Elementary for 13 years. She has also been principal at Upland Elementary and an adjunct professor in the graduate reading program at the University of La Verne. Dr. Wendland attended Walnut Valley schools and is a graduate of Walnut High School. She earned her bachelor’s degree at California State University, Fullerton, master’s degree at Azusa Pacific University, and doctoral degree at the University of La Verne. “Walnut Valley Unified is a wonderful district for students and staff,” she said. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to continue to serve students, families, and staff of this district in a new capacity.” Dr. Wendland succeeds Dr. Resma Byrne who accepted a position as assistant superintendent of Educational Services in the Alvord Unified School District.
A trio of new Walnut Valley USD principals were also appointed during the March 16 meeting.
Bringing a wealth of educational experience, Rochelle Wolf was approved as the new school leader at Collegewood Elementary. For the past six years, she has served as principal at Woodcrest Elementary School in the Fullerton Elementary School District. She has also been assistant principal at Orangethorpe Elementary for two years and teacher at Woodcrest Elementary for seven years. Wolf holds a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fullerton and master’s degree from Brandman University, Irvine.m“Becoming the new principal at Collegewood means so much to me and I can’t wait to get to know the students, staff, and families!” said Wolf who begins her new duties in June. She succeeds Dr. Mary Wendland who was named director of Educational Projects and Assessment.
Dedicated and visionary leader Dr. Gabriel Cardenas joins Evergreen Elementary as the new school principal. For the past 13 years he has served as principal at Mildred B. Janson Elementary in the Rosemead School District. In 2021, under his leadership, the school became a Leader in Me “Legacy” School, only the second school in the world to earn the prestigious title. He has also been Migrant Education Rosemead Consortium coordinator for two years and elementary teacher for seven years. Dr. Cardenas earned a bachelor’s degree at California State University, Los Angeles, master’s degree at California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, and doctoral degree at Azusa Pacific University.
“I am super excited to join the Evergreen Eagles and the Walnut Valley Unified School District family!” he said to the audience. “I promise to give 110% and I cannot wait to get to know all of the students, staff, families and community.” Dr. Cardenas will begin his new duties at Evergreen in June. He succeeds Trina Dreyer who accepted a position as a professor at Biola University.
Trustees appointed Walnut Valley USD alumna Kim McNeil as the new principal at Maple Hill Elementary. A passionate and focused educational leader, McNeil currently serves as the school’s interim principal. Prior to that, she was the elementary learning specialist for five years and teacher for 12 years. “Maple Hill rocks and we will continue to rock!” she exclaimed to cheering staff members at the meeting.“This doesn’t feel like work, because it feels like family and home!” McNeil holds a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fullerton and master’s degree from Concordia University. She succeeds Kelly Morris who was named principal at C.J. Morris Elementary last fall.
Earlier this year, Trustees appointed Paula Dominguez as director of the Child Care and Preschool Program. For the past seven years, she served as administrative assistant in the Human Resources division and previously ran her own child care program for infants, toddlers, and school-age children.
Amber Verdi was also approved as coordinator of Special Education. She has served 23 years as an educator with a unique background having served as both a general and special education teacher before moving into special education administration. For the past seven years, she served as director of Special Education in the Claremont Unified School District.
Board Approved! Congratulations to Mary Wendland, Dr. Gabriel Cardenas, Rochelle Wolf, and Kim McNeil appointed to leadership positions on March 16.
Trustees appointed Dr. Mary Wendland as the new director of educational projects and assessments on Mar. 16.
Trustees approved Dr. Gabriel Cardenas as new principal at Evergreen Elementary on Mar. 16.
Rochelle Wolf has been named the new principal at Collegewood Elementary.
It’s Official! Kim McNeil has been approved as the new principal at Maple Hill Elementary.
Paula Dominguez has been named director of Child Care and Preschool Programs.
Amber Verdi was approved as coordinator of Special Education.