Dr. Russell Castañeda Calleros - Vice President
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 and an M.P.P. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Russell has dedicated himself to a career in higher education to help offer the same outstanding educational opportunities to others that he was offered as a student.
Russell currently serves as the Director of Government & Community Relations at Rio Hondo College and has held this position for over five years. Before arriving at Rio Hondo College, 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.
An advocate of public service, Russell has volunteered his time for Whittier First Day Coalition, the Whittier Cultural Arts Commission, the PUENTE program, and the Hispanic Outreach Taskforce. Russell has been a Whittier resident for over 30 years. Russell is married to Maria Castañeda Calleros and has embraced the shared vocation of raising three children: Abram, Grace, and Selah. The Castañeda Calleros family remains active with St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Uptown Whittier.
Jeff Baird - Clerk
Jeff Baird has been a member of the Whittier Union High School District Board of Trustees since 1997. Previously, he served for four years as a member of the Board of Education for the South Whittier School District Board. Mr. Baird also serves as a Governing Board Member of the Tri-Cities Regional Occupation Program (Tri-Cities ROP).
Mr. Baird earned a Bachelor's Degree in History at California State University, Long Beach in 1978. He received his Juris Doctor Cum Laude at Loyola Law School in 1981. Since then he has practiced law at Bewley, Lassleben & Miller, a 110-year-old Whittier firm, where he presently serves as Chairman of the Management Committee.
Mr. Baird and his wife, Jan, have raised three children, who each graduated from the Whittier Union High School District. Robert is a graduate of the University of California at Irvine and currently works in Sacramento for the California State Assembly; Thomas is a graduate from Point Loma Nazarene University and Princeton Theological Seminary and currently works as a social worker/chaplain for a San Diego area hospice; Patrick is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles. Jan Baird, a longtime community activist, presently serves on the Board of Education of the South Whittier School District.
Mr. Baird's service as a Trustee is motivated by his deep belief in the essential role played by public schools in our American democracy.
Jaime Lopez - Member
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 has been 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.
Leighton Anderson - President
Leighton M. Anderson has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 1997. He and his wife, Diane, are the parents of three children, all of whom attended high school in the Whittier Union High School District. Their daughter, Courtney, graduated from the District in 2002; their older son, Jason, graduated in 2006; and the youngest, Brian, graduated in 2008. Diane, too, is active in school activities, and still volunteers her time at one of the District's high schools.
Mr. Anderson is an attorney and a partner in the law firm of Bewley, Lassleben & Miller, LLP, in Whittier. He is a former President, and serves on the Board of Directors, of the Rio Hondo Symphony Association, which provides admission-free classical music concerts to the Whittier, Santa Fe Springs, and Pico Rivera communities and the surrounding area. He is a past President of the Santa Fe Springs Chamber of Commerce and he is currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Whittier Area Chamber of Commerce. His many non-profit affiliations include the Whittier First Day Coalition, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association and Lions Club International. He is an elected member of the Delegate Assembly of the California School Boards Association (CSBA) and is an appointed member of the Education Legal Alliance. He was previously appointed to serve on the Cities, Counties and Schools Partnership Task Force on State Budget and Fiscal Reform, representing a joint committee of CSBA, the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties, and has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Tri-Cities Regional Occupational Program (Tri-Cities ROP) and on the former Redevelopment Agency Successor Agency Oversight Boards for both Whittier and Santa Fe Springs.
Mr. Anderson attended college at Claremont McKenna College, where he received his B. A. degree, magna cum laude, in 1976. He then attended law school at Columbia University, where he received his Juris Doctor degree in 1978.