Meet the Board

To relay a message to any of the Board Members, please email [email protected] or via telephone at (562) 698-8121 Extension 1000 in the Superintendent's Office or at their email address below.

Dr. Russell Castañeda Calleros - representing Trustee Area 1
Board Member


A product of local public school districts, Russell graduated from California High School where he served as ASB President. Russell holds a B.A. in political science from Stanford University, an M.P.P. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and an Ed.D. in educational leadership for social justice from Loyola Marymount University. Russell has dedicated himself to a career in higher education to help create educational opportunities to others that he was offered as a student.


Russell currently serves as the Director of Government and Community Relations at Río Hondo College. He has also served as an adjunct professor of political science for the Los Angeles Community College District. Before arriving at Río Hondo, Russell worked for Loyola Marymount University as a campus minister for community service, and worked for Congressman Xavier Becerra in his Los Angeles district office as a special projects coordinator.


Russell has been a Whittier resident for over 45 years. An advocate of public service, Russell has volunteered his time for the Interfaith Food Center, Whittier First Day Coalition, the Whittier Cultural Arts Commission, and the Hispanic Outreach Taskforce. Russell is married to Maria Castañeda Calleros and has embraced the shared vocation of raising three children: Abram, Grace, and Selah. All three children are currently attending Whittier High School. The Castañeda Calleros family remains active with St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Uptown Whittier.


Appointed to the Board in 2010.  Current term through November 2026.



Jaime Lopez - Member


Mr. Jaime Lopez - representing Trustee Area 2
Board Member

e-mail: [email protected]


Mr. Jaime López was elected in November of 2020 to represent Trustee Area 2 of the Whittier Union High School District. Mr. Lopez was the first in his family to attend college earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and Spanish from Cal State Sacramento.  He also holds a graduate degree in Public Administration from Cal State Long Beach. 


Mr. Lopez is a public employee for the City of Santa Ana in the Community Development Agency.   He serves as an appointed member to the Río Hondo College Measure A Citizens Oversight Committee and was a member of the California High School Site Council. 

Jaime and his wife Vanessa, an elementary school teacher, are the proud parents of two Whittier Union High School District students. He is committed to enhancing educational pathways for the youth in our community.


Elected to the Board in 2020.  Current term through November 2024



J Canchola

Ms. Josefina E. Canchola - representing Trustee Area 3
Vice President of the Board

Josefina E. Canchola was sworn into the WUHSD Board of Trustees on July 18, 2023.  She was unanimously appointed by the Board to represent Trustee Area Three. She is a proud product of public education having attended schools in LAUSD and graduated from Pioneer High School in the WUHSD.  Josefina graduated from the University of California, Riverside where she received a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Sociology in 1988.  She also holds a Masters in Management Degree from the University of Phoenix and a certificate on California Politics from the University of Southern California. Josefina has nearly 30 years of expertise in the field of higher education having worked for the University of California’s Office of the President, The University of California, Riverside and most recently with The University of California, Berkeley.


Josefina presently serves as Director of Secondary Programs for The Puente Project, an award-winning academic preparation program for underserved, underrepresented students.  Josefina oversees all of the middle and high school programs throughout California including California, Whittier, and La Serna High School Puente Programs in WUHSD.  Josefina has been working for Puente for the last 23 years.


Josefina has dedicated much of her time to volunteering to numerous efforts that promote student leadership development, community engagement and empowerment of women and girls.  She is a past president of the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project (CLYLP) where she has volunteered for over 30 years. She is also involved with Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) and is a graduate of their prestigious HOPE Leadership Institute. Josefina is also President-Elect of the University of California, Riverside Alumni Association and will be the first Latina to hold this important position. She has also served the local community twice as an appointed member and once as an elected representative of the California Central Democratic Committee.  She also served as Vice Chair of Rio Hondo College’s Citizens Oversight Committee. Josefina has been a member of the Little Lake City School District’s and Pioneer High School’s LCAP Committees.  Given her dedication to serve, Josefina has received recognitions like The 57th Assembly District’s Woman of Achievement Award and President Barack Obama’s Community Service Award.


Josefina is a single parent of three children, her eldest Julia, is also a Pioneer High School graduate.  Her two younger children will eventually join the WUHSD scholar family when they get to high school.


Provisionally appointed to the Board in 2023.  Current term through November 2024. 





Ms. Irma Rodríguez Moisa - representing Trustee Area 4
Clerk of the Board


Irma Rodríguez Moisa was elected to the Board in November 2022.  Ms. Rodríguez Moisa and her husband, Alex M. Moisa, are the parents of three children, all of whom attended high school in the Whittier Union High School District.  Cristina graduated from La Serna High School and went on to earn bachelor and masters degrees from U.C. Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University and is a school psychologist in the Bay Area.  Alex graduated from La Serna High School and earned his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy degree from UCLA.  Isaac graduated from Whittier High School and is currently a junior at UC Santa Barbara.


Ms. Rodríguez Moisa is an attorney and a partner at Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo, headquartered in Cerritos, CA. Ms. Rodríguez Moisa specializes in labor and employment law representing public and private entities.  She earned a bachelor’s degree from U.C. Berkeley, a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University and her law degree from U.C. Berkeley.  In addition to practicing law, Ms. Rodríguez Moisa serves on her Firm’s executive committee, is co-COO and the partner in charge of the Cerritos office.   Ms. Rodríguez serves on several non-profit boards. 


Ms. Rodríguez Moisa’s service as a Trustee is motivated by her belief in public education and is committed to making decisions that will positively impact students, staff and the community.


Elected to the Board in 2022.  Current term through November 2026. 




Mr. Gary Mendez - representing Trustee Area 5
President of the Board 

Gary’s family first came to the area in 1769 with the Portola Expedition and settled here in the1800’s where he and his family have lived since.


Before being elected to the Whittier Union High School District Board of Trustees, Gary successfully served five consecutive terms on the Rio Hondo Community College District Board.


He graduated from Whittier High School in 1987 where his family has attended for five generations. While in high school, he earned a certificate in Child Development from R.O.P.  Gary then attended Rio Hondo College where he earned an A.S. in Paralegal Studies and an A.A. in Political Science. While attending Rio Hondo, Gary, at times, experienced homelessness. He then transferred to Sac State (CSU, Sacramento) earning a B.A. in Government while working in the State Legislature.


As a public servant, Gary served in local, state, and federal levels of government as a legislative analyst for the Southern California Association of Governments, the California State Assembly, the United States House of Representatives, and the United States Department of Commerce.


Gary is a University of California certified California Naturalist, certified Catalina Island Naturalist, and certified California Climate Science Steward. He is active in many conservancies.


Currently, he is the CEO of a local Nonprofit dedicated to the empowerment, safety, physical, mental, and emotional health of youth. He is a certified Karate Sensei teaching for over thirty-nine years and who holds a fifth degree (Godan) black belt in Okinawan Shorin Ryu Matsumura Seito Karate, Kenpo Karate, and Zen (Tai Crane Karate Dojo).


Sensei Gary has led child safety seminars for over thirty years “championing, empowering & protecting children” with the life-skills of mindfulness meditation, self-defense, safety, anti-abduction, evasion, and escape from unthinkable dangers. He is dedicated to protecting and empowering youth and to the academic success of students.


Elected to the Board in 2022.  Current term through November 2026. 


To relay a message to any of the Board Members, please email [email protected] or via telephone at (562) 698-8121 Extension 1000, in the Superintendent's Office or at their email noted above.