Skip to main content

Walnut valley Unified School District

Main Menu Toggle
Our motto is KIDS FIRST... Every Student, Every Day!   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. 

Saluting Our Best!

October 20, 2023                                               

By Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources

WALNUT, CA—Walnut Valley Unified School District paid tribute to an outstanding group of “all-star” educators during the 26th annual Salute to Teachers awards on October 18.

The 2022/2023 Teachers of the Year display passion, innovation, and enthusiasm for ensuring the best education for their students.

Congratulations to the following honorees: Tracy Young – Castle Rock Elementary, Pa Di Donato – Chaparral Middle School, Megan Brown – Collegewood Elementary, Megan Cowles – C.J. Morris Elementary, Jared Kaitz – Diamond Bar High School, Erika McQuilliams  – Evergreen Elementary,  Jackie Adishian – Maple Hill Elementary, Alex Surdam – Quail Summit Elementary, Lauren von Hollen  – South Pointe Middle School, Marlene Soto – Suzanne Middle School, Lisa Gomez  – Vejar Elementary, Carol Cheng – Walnut Elementary, Joe Khouzam – Walnut High School, and Emmy Tam – Westhoff Elementary.

“These 14 teachers being recognized today represent the very best of the 700 amazing educators in Walnut Valley,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor during the ceremony held in the Walnut High School Performing Arts Center.

“It’s a huge honor and we’re so proud of you!”

The school’s chief commended honorees for inspiring greatness during their storied careers.

“Your impact will forever be remembered by your students!”

Drama teacher Jared Kaitz from Diamond Bar High was recognized as the 2023 District Teacher of the Year at the culmination of the ceremony.

Kaitz, a WVUSD alumni, said that he was “honored and thankful” to be chosen for the esteemed recognition.

“This district means so much to me personally! Being a part of Walnut Valley surrounded by so many incredible teachers and staff members is really a dream come true!”

Kaitz was unable to attend the event due to the dress rehearsal for “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” fall play.

“We are so lucky to be in such an incredible district that supports its teachers and all of its students really embracing diversity and inclusion,” he added in a video message. 

Deputy Superintendent of Educational Services Dr. Matt Witmer and Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Dr. Diane Perez hosted the event attended by over 300 educators, families, local officials, and community members.

Entertainment was provided by the Walnut High Chamber Singers under the direction of Lisa Lopez.

Each Teacher of the Year was presented with an engraved apple award courtesy of the Walnut Valley Educational Foundation as they took the stage.

Honorees also received rolling carts filled with generous donations from the following sponsors: Massage Envy Diamond Bar, Schools First Federal Credit Union, Chaffey Federal Credit Union, McGriff Insurance, Complete Business Solutions, Walnut Valley Administrators’ Association, Farmer Boys, Chick-fil-A, Yogurtland, and School Portraits by Adams Photography.

In addition, the 14 Teachers of the Year received certificates of recognition from Senator Josh Newman, Senator Bob Archuleta, Assemblymember Lisa Calderon, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, Supervisor Hilda Solis, City of Diamond Bar, and City of Walnut.


Honoring Our Best! Walnut Valley USD celebrates the 2022/2023 Teachers of the Year during the Salute to Teachers awards on October 18. 

Top Teacher! Congratulations to Diamond Bar High Drama teacher Jared Kaitz named the 2023 District Teacher of the Year. 

Walnut High School Chambers Singers performed during the 26th Annual Salute to Teachers awards. 

District Teacher of the Year Jared Kaitz was celebrated during the Los Angeles County Office of Education Teacher of the Year awards on Sept. 22.