Hello South Pasadena High School Tiger families, students, and staff and welcome back to another school year! I hope you have had the opportunity to not only rest and unplug from your daily life but also had the opportunity to enjoy some time well spent with friends and family. Summer vacation is such an integral part of our school year even though it is not something that we structure for our students. It is an important opportunity for students to relax, recharge, and experience those things outside of school that make life so worth living. I myself had the opportunity to do some traveling with my family and I have to say that the benefits of getting out of town and avoiding email as much as possible is such a healthy practice. As a result, I am rested, ready, and excited for the coming school year and I hope you and your students are as well.
Over the summer we have had the opportunity to clean and beautify the campus, make some repairs, and get the campus up to par so that it is ready to receive not only the students that were here last year but the incoming class of 2026, one of our largest incoming freshmen classes ever!
We have also had some changes in personnel over the summer starting with the Physical Education department: longtime PE teacher Mr. Jerry Wulf retired and Mrs. Jill Timothy has moved to another district. They will be replaced by Mr. Ross Spaulding, who will also teach health, and Mr. Kyle Murray. Mrs. Ana Fraley will join the world languages department to teach Spanish; Ms. Kathryn Gonzalez is a new addition to the Special Education department; Mr. Cory Triplett will round out the English department; and lastly longtime counselor Mrs. Maria Chelko has left the area to join her husband who has a new job in Idaho and has been replaced by the very capable Mrs. Joyce Ku Rodriguez. We are very pleased to have them join the SPHS family.
We have also had a few more retirements since school ended: Mrs. Elsa Laron in world languages; longtime assistant principal Janet Wichman announced her retirement in early July and we have found a very suitable and capable replacement in Mrs. Vanessa Blackwood. Mrs. Blackwood brings a wealth of teaching as well as health and wellness experience and we are very excited to welcome her to the SPHS team. And lastly our long time Plant Foreman Mr. Bruce Underwood will retire at the end of August. We wish them all the best and a much deserved and restful retirement.
Lastly, I would urge all of you to get involved in the many important initiatives that take place at SPHS that benefit our campus: Booster Club, Booster Bingo, Music Boosters, PTSA, and Challenge Success. These first four organizations are key to providing funds, support, and activities for our students, clubs, teachers, and teams, while Challenge Success works towards helping you as a parent balance the academic and social emotional wellness of our students at home in conjunction with us here at school. Please take a moment to join these organizations and to calendar and attend meetings as they come up so that you are well-versed in what is taking place on our campus as well as taking advantage of ways to be involved. High school is a time for students to learn to be able to advocate for themselves but your input and guidance is more critical than ever, and being involved in these important initiatives is a critical way to stay in the loop and keep your finger on the pulse of student life here at South Pasadena High School. I look forward to seeing all of you at our many events throughout the school year, starting with our PTSA kick off coffee in front of school on August 11; please join us as we begin another great school year and once again, welcome back!