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Our motto is KIDS FIRST... Every Student, Every Day!   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. 

Castle Rock Elementary Celebrates 60th Anniversary

March 30, 2023

By Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources


DIAMOND BAR, CA--It was a joyful walk down memory lane as Castle Rock Elementary commemorated its 60th anniversary this week.

Former principals, teachers, staff, alumni, and parents joined in celebration for the milestone event held March 30.

Even the rainy weather didn’t dampen spirits of the party that moved inside and live-streamed for students and teachers viewing in classrooms.

“Castle Rock is a very special place for all of us and in our hearts forever!” said host retired administrator and former Castle Rock principal Jackie Brown who served as interim principal this year.

The school opened on October 1, 1962 with 362 students in 12 portables under the direction of Principal Barney Davis.

Castle Rock earned the prestigious International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme title in 2006 through the vision of former Superintendent Dr. Ron Hockwalt.

“At that time, there were only three schools in the state (including WVUSD sister school C.J. Morris Elementary) and 60 in the country,” Brown said.

“It really put Castle Rock on the map!”

A group of students from all grade levels kicked off the program performing an original “Castle Rock is Amazing” song to the tune of Encanto.

“Today is a reunion of so many people that have made such a difference here at Castle Rock,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.

“As I look around and see all our Castle Rock friends with smiling faces – this is going to be a wonderful time,” Brown said.

“We can’t thank you enough for coming!’

The multipurpose room was brimming with six decades of historical photos, news clippings, and memorabilia displayed on paneled columns and tables.

“We hope you will reminisce, laugh, and enjoy the pictures through the decades and artifacts on display,” Brown said.

Castle Rock has grown and evolved through the years, currently serving 676 students in 28 classrooms.

From the very first year, parents were very involved with the school – even hosting monthly potluck dinners.

“Castle Rock just feels like home to so many of us,” Brown said noting that many former students now bring their children to attend the school

And the school’s legacy continues with three alumni teachers’ daughters currently teaching at the school.

“As I worked on putting together hundreds of photographs for the 60th anniversary display, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all of the staff, children and memories that have shaped our lives,” said retired teacher Jody Brown who taught at the school for 38 years.

Brown’s two daughters attended the school and she now enjoys “giving back” in daughter Christa Richard’s transitional kindergarten (TK) classroom.

“Castle Rock has been part of my family and will always hold a special place in my heart!”

Over the past 60 years, Castle Rock has promoted over 6,000 students to middle school and its current TK students will graduate in 2036.

“We strive to have our kids be the best global citizens they can be!” Brown added.

“To our alumni – you are the foundation – whether you are a teacher, classified, principal, parents, or past student, we can’t thank you enough for all that you’ve given us!” Brown said.

“You have left your mark on this school!”


Castle Rock Elementary celebrated its 60th anniversary with alumni principals, teachers, and staff, and students

Past, present, and future Castle Rock principals gather to commemorate the school’s 60th anniversary on March 30. 

Castle Rock Elementary turned back the hands of time with six decades of photos and artifacts on display. 

Interim Principal Jackie Brown introduces student performers during 60th anniversary celebration. 

Proud Alumna! Walnut Valley USD Public Information Specialist with her sixth grade class photo on display at Castle Rock’s 60th anniversary celebration. 

Retired Walnut Valley USD administrator Ray McMullen celebrated for over six decades of service. 

Castle Rock alumnus Dr. Ryan Maine (now Walnut High School Principal) with his former teacher Nadine Adnoff.