Whittier Union High School District

To Achieve and Maintain Excellence


Sandra Thorstenson - WUHSD Superintendent
Superintendent's Message

Spring marks the beginning of nature’s replenishment, renewal and growth, much like what the Whittier Union School District community will be met with in the future and what it has joyfully experienced over more than a decade. The Board of Trustees, faculty and staff work collectively to continually achieve higher levels of excellence on behalf of our students.

Just a few weeks ago, two members of renowned worldwide educational researcher Michael Fullan’s research team visited our District, which was one of four in the entire state selected to be part of a three-year case study that will analyze the deeply rooted culture of trust and collaboration we have developed and nurtured that has positively impacted the success of our students.

While here, they met with members of our District administrative team, spent time in a Superintendent’s Council meeting and met with administrators from our partner elementary school districts. Most importantly, they observed classes in our high schools and engaged with math, science and English teachers during the regularly scheduled Best Practices meetings, observing what are truly collaborative and inclusive discussions focused on continual improvement of instructional practice. 

With this first visit, our staff have left a lasting impression on the researchers, validating our work and inspiring us to continue down this path. We are looking forward to future visits from Fullan and his team, and we are eager to receive outstanding strategic advice to help make our collaborative culture even more effective.

This study also highlights the exceptional, broad based and highly effective teacher leadership at Whittier Union, which has grown exponentially over the years and has contributed to our students’ continual growth.

For example, UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks visited and praised one of the District’s most prized programs, Puente, which, with the strength and commitment of the teachers and staff behind it, has bolstered the number of students who go on to a four-year university after high school. In another case, one of our former students has made international headlines for his integral role in making a discovery that could dramatically reduce costs for cancer treatments.

It is a joy to see the depths of what our students can accomplish, and it is a great reflection of the role our schools, teachers, staff and administrators have played to drive their achievements.

We greatly appreciate the support of our Whittier Union school community and its commitment to working together with our staff to ensure our students' well-being and success.


Sandra Thorstenson


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