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Alta Loma School District to Welcome New School Principals

Three Alta Loma elementary schools will have new leadership for the 2021-2022 school year.

The Alta Loma School District Board of Trustees at its June 9 meeting approved Guadalupe Berzunza as principal at Floyd M. Stork Elementary School, Khaleelah Lewis-Wilkins as principal at Banyan Elementary School and Andrew Carter as principal at Deer Canyon Elementary School. All three appointments are effective July 1.

“We are delighted to welcome Guadalupe and Khaleelah to the Alta Loma School District, and to promote Andrew to principal,” said ALSD Superintendent Karen Hendricks. “All are very deserving and will continue to elevate our district as they join an already extremely strong team. 

“At the same time, we thank Phil Suttner (Stork), Cara Cerecerez (Banyan) and Donna Carlson (Deer Canyon) for all they accomplished as leaders of their respective schools and know that they will have continued success in their new endeavors.”

Carlson was appointed as the district’s assistant superintendent of human resources, and Cerecerez has accepted the role of director of student services for ALSD. Suttner has accepted a principalship closer to where he resides.

Floyd M. Stork Elementary School

Guadalupe Berzunza

Berzunza joins ALSD from El Monte Union High School District, where she has been an assistant principal since 2019. Prior to that, she was an elementary school principal in Hayward Unified School District. Over her 30 years in education, she has worked in a variety of roles in K-12 schools, including as an elementary bilingual teacher, and project director. She has also been a” trainer of trainers” for thinking maps.

“Lupe is a dedicated educational leader with a passion for supporting students and their families,” Hendricks said. “She has a strong reputation as a communicator, collaborator and ‘kid magnet.’ She also has extensive experience with important initiatives such as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, Multi-Tiered System of Support, social and emotional learning, restorative justice practices and deeper learning practices. 

Berzunza has a bachelor’s degree from Cal State East Bay (formerly Cal State Hayward), a master’s degree in education administration from National University and is currently a candidate for a doctorate at North Central University. She has a multiple subject teaching credential and a clear administrative credential.

Banyan Elementary School

Khaleelah Lewis-Wilkins

Lewis-Wilkins has been assistant principal at Towngate Elementary School and Edgemont Elementary School in Moreno Valley Unified School District since 2019, after serving as assistant administrator of instruction and coaching at a middle school in the same district. Previously, she was a middle school history teacher and an AVID coordinator in MVUSD, as well as a professional development specialist where she supported students from Kindergarten through high school.  Lewis-Wilkins is also well-versed in trauma informed teaching and restorative practices.

She also has had a variety of leadership roles with instructional programs and district initiatives, including AVID, Early Literacy, Direct Interactive Instruction, STEAM initiatives and building teacher capacity in the classroom.  

“Khaleelah’s approach is to work with the full school community to create a welcoming and engaging school experience for all students,” Hendricks said. “She believes in the importance of supporting students in learning critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills. That starts with providing strong support for her staff.”

Lewis-Wilkins received her bachelor’s degree from UC Riverside. She earned her master’s degree in cross-cultural education from National University and has a clear administrative credential. She has been accepted into the doctoral program at the University of La Verne.

Deer Canyon Elementary School

Carter has been assistant principal at Alta Loma Junior High School since 2018. He previously was a teaching assistant principal at Deer Canyon in the 2017-2018 school year, and he spent two summers as the Alta Loma School District’s summer school principal.

Carter began his teaching career as a middle school language arts and social studies teacher in Hawthorne, California. He joined ALSD in 2014 to teach eighth grade language arts and social studies at Alta Loma Junior High. He participated in a number of leadership positions at ALJHS, including chair of the history department. 

He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in multicultural education from Cal State Dominguez Hills and has a clear administrative credential.

“Andrew values the input of students and what they bring to the school, the staff who work hard to ensure school is a safe place to learn, and the parents and community who are invaluable to the success of our school,” Hendricks said. “He is committed to student success—academically, socially and emotionally. The Deer Canyon community will welcome his return.”

 Jasper Elementary School

 

Earlier this year, Curtis Quanstrom was named interim principal at Jasper Elementary School and was later officially named principal, effective July 1.

Quanstrom joined the Alta Loma School District in 2009 and taught fifth and sixth grades at Jasper for seven years before beginning his administrative career as the teaching assistant principal at Hermosa in 2016, where he taught third grade. After two years at Hermosa, he was appointed the TAP at Jasper.

“Curtis has a stellar reputation as a person of integrity, a strong work ethic, and a caring heart for students of all backgrounds,” Hendricks said. “He was the natural choice when he was appointed interim principal in February, and he has continued to demonstrate that he is an outstanding leader.”

Quanstrom is deeply involved in all aspects of a school, including student learning, student activities, school climate and meeting the needs of students with disabilities. He has facilitated IEP meetings and built rapport with special needs families at Jasper. In addition, he has been immersed in providing reading intervention and reading recovery strategies to Jasper students.

He has a full clear administrative services credential from the University of California, Irvine. 

Schools throughout the Alta Loma School District are scheduled to begin the 2021-2022 school year with in-person learning on Monday, Aug. 9. Eighth graders at Alta Loma and Vineyard junior high schools start classes on Tuesday, Aug. 10. Students whose families have expressed interest in continuing their learning virtually have been notified of their option to enroll in our ALLTIS (Alta Loma Long Term Independent Study).