Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, September 4, 2010



Mountain Views News Saturday, September 4, 2010


Barraza Named Pasadena High School Principal

Pasadena Unified School District 
(PUSD) Superintendent Edwin Diaz 
today announced that he has named 
Gilbert Barraza as principal of 
Pasadena High School. Mr. Barraza 
will be introduced at the Board of 
Education meeting on Tuesday, 
August 24. He replaces Derick 
Evans, who retired after eight years 
as principal of PHS.


“With his leadership and outstanding 
record as an educator, Mr. Barraza 
will guide Pasadena High School 
to even higher levels of academic 
achievement for every student,” said 
Diaz. “His experience, expertise, 
and ability to work collaboratively 
with students, faculty and parents 
will help accelerate achievement and 
enhance PUSD’s leadership team.”


Mr. Barraza joins PUSD from the 
Calexico Unified School District, 
where he served as principal of 
Calexico High School since 2004. As 
principal, he led the re-constitution 
of the campus and helped the school 
earn a six-year accreditation from 
the Western Association of Schools 
and Colleges. During his tenure, 
seventeen of the school’s graduates 
won the prestigious Gates Millennium 
Scholarships, Calexico High School 
earned national recognition for its 
Advanced Placement program, and was 
named a silver medalist in 2009 by 
U.S. News & World Report for its 
college-going culture.


“I am honored, proud and, and 
ready to join the PHS Bulldog 
community,” said Mr. Barraza. 
“I am committed to providing 
consistent leadership, fostering 
collaboration and plenty of two-
way communication with all 


Prior to his appointment at 
Calexico High School, Mr. Barraza 
was assistant principal of Eastwood 
Heights Elementary School in El 
Paso, Texas; and activities director 
at Bel Air High School, also in El 
Paso. He began his career as an 
English teacher at Hanks High 
School in El Paso in 1989.


Mr. Barraza holds a Bachelor of 
Science in Education from the 
University of Texas at El Paso, 
and a Master’s in Educational 
Administration from New Mexico 
State University. He has a California 
Clear Administrative Services 

Alverno High School

200 N. Michillinda Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024

(626) 355-3463 Head of School: Ann M. Gillick 

E-mail address:

Arcadia High School

180 Campus Drive Arcadia, CA 91007

Phone: (626) 821-8370, Principal: David L. Vannasdall

Arroyo Pacific Academy

41 W. Santa Clara St. Arcadia, Ca, 

(626) 294-0661 Principal: Phil Clarke

E-mail address:

Barnhart School

240 W. Colorado Blvd Arcadia, Ca. 91007

(626) 446-5588 Head of School: Joanne Testa Cross

Kindergarten - 8th grade


Bethany Christian School

93 N. Baldwin Ave. Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024

(626) 355-3527 Principal: James Lugenbuehl

E-mail address:

Carden of the Foothills School

429 Wildrose Avenue, Monrovia, CA 91016 626/358-9414 
626/358-5164 fax

The Gooden School

192 N. Baldwin Ave. Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024

(626) 355-2410 Head of School: Patty Patano


High Point Academy

1720 Kinneloa Canyon Road

Pasadena, Ca. 91107



LaSalle High School

3880 E. Sierra Madre Blvd. Pasadena, Ca. 

(626) 351-8951 Principal: Patrick Bonacci


Monrovia High School

325 East Huntington Drive, Monrovia, CA 91016 

(626) 471-2000, email:

Norma Coombs Alternative School

2600 Paloma St. Pasadena, Ca. 91107

(626) 798-0759 Principal: Dr. Vanessa Watkins 

E-mail address:

Odyssey Charter School

725 W. Altadena Dr. Altadena, Ca. 91001

(626) 229-0993 Head of School: Lauren O’Neill


Pasadena High School

2925 E. Sierra Madre Blvd. Pasadena, Ca. 

(626) 798-8901 Principal: Dr. Derick Evans


Pasadena Unified School District

351 S. Hudson Ave. Pasadena, Ca. 91109

(626) 795-6981 website:

St. Rita Catholic School

322 N. Baldwin Ave. Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024

(626) 355-9028 Principal: Joanne Harabedian


Sierra Madre Elementary School

141 W. Highland Ave, Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024

(626) 355-1428 Principal: Gayle Bluemel


Sierra Madre Middle School 

160 N. Canon Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024

(626) 836-2947 Principal: Gayle Bluemel

Contact person: Garrett Newsom, Asst. Principal

E-mail address:

Weizmann Day School

1434 N. Altadena Dr. Pasadena, Ca. 91107

(626) 797-0204

Lisa Feldman: Head of School

Wilson Middle School

300 S. Madre St. Pasadena, Ca. 91107

(626) 449-7390 Principal: Ruth Esseln

E-mail address:

Pasadena Unified School District

351 S. Hudson Ave., Pasadena, Ca. 91109

(626) 795-6981


Gilbert Barraza, former principal of Calexico 
High School joins the Pasadena Unified 
School District

Class of 2014 Aims for the 
Stars at Alverno 

An elegant poster reading “The Future Belongs to Those 
Who Believe in the Beauty of Dreams” was one of the 
first things members of the Alverno High School Class of 
2014 saw as they joined together in the school’s Villa del 
Sol d’Oro for their orientation. 

“That theme was developed over the summer in our 
Leadership Workshop for incoming girls,” says Dean of 
Students Cam Gonzales. “Each girl was asked to bring 
in a word or phrase that meant something to her, and 
the class discussed them and chose “Stargazers” as their 

Alverno Student Union (ASU) president Julia Morreale 
led the extensive planning for the orientation. “The girls 
in the Leadership Workshop were just exploding with 
ideas,” she says. “ASU was able to take some of those 
ideas and build an orientation that would really mean 
something to this new class.” 

Highlight? “Watching how this class came together. 
It was seamless,” says Julia. “The 2014’s are going to be 

Alverno High School is the independent, Catholic, college-
prep high school for girls in Sierra Madre, celebrating 50 
years of empowering exceptional women. Its college-prep 
curriculum attracts students from public and private 
schools throughout the San Gabriel Valley. 



Youths will soon have 12 school playgrounds to choose from for 
their after-school recreation and enrichment. 


Organized by the city of Pasadena Human Services and 
Recreation Department, the After School Playground program is 
a socially active experience that lets children choose from among 
many activities. 


“Our goal is to provide a safe and healthy setting on the 
playground that is fun for children,” said Darrell Walker, 
recreation supervisor. 


Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 14, the program will be available to 
children ages 5 to 14 years old, and includes sports, a health and 
wellness program, arts and crafts, drama, dance, board games, 
homework assistance and free snacks at most sites.


Programs are at Pasadena Unified School District playgrounds 
throughout Pasadena and operate from school dismissal bell 
through 6 p.m. daily. Programs are closed on school holidays 
and pupil-free days.


School locations are:


* Don Benito, 3700 Denair St .

* Field, 3600 E. Sierra Madre Blvd.

* Hamilton, 2089 Rose Villa St .

* Jackson, 593 W. Woodbury Rd.

* Jefferson, 1500 E. Villa St .

* Longfellow, 1065 E. Washington Blvd.

* James Madison, 515 Ashtabula St .

* Roosevelt , 314 N. Pasadena Ave.

* San Rafael , 1090 Nithsdale Rd.

* Webster, 2101 E. Washington Blvd.

* Willard, 301 S. Madre Ave.


Enrollment fees per school semester are $25 per child and $22.50 
for each additional sibling.


Registration is now available at 
(click on View Activities). Walk-in registration is available at 
Jackie Robinson Center , 1020 N. Fair Oaks Ave. 


For more information contact Stephanie Carter at (626) 744-7532, or Elizabeth Luna at (626) 744-7302, 

Frosh Crew: Daniella Dutcher, Kendall Khonsari, Bella 
Daniels-Campos, Asia Chapa, Haley Edwards, Tessa 
Brandstetter, Sarah Cramer-Mason and Kelly Youssef 
get to know each other. Photos by Mona Lufti

SME Principal Bluemel Dons 
Her Musical Hat By Chris Bertrand

 Gayle Bluemel, principal of the 
two campuses of Sierra Madre 
Elementary Schoo, is known 
best around the community 
as a dedicated teacher and 
administrator, who’s devoted 
her entire career to the children 
of the Pasadena Unified School 
District. To some, she’s also 
known as a member of the Late 
Bloomers band.

 Back in 1973, she began 
as a fourth grade teacher 
at Washington (then an 
elementary) School in 
Pasadena. Throughout her 
ensuing twenty years in 
the classroom and then in 
administrative roles, she always 
blended her love and talent 
for music and drama, her 
initial college degree, into her 
academic life. 

 She arrived at Sierra Madre 
Elementary in 1990 as a first 
grade teacher, then moved 
on to a curriculum position 
at the school. In 2006, she 
assumed the leadership reins 
of SME’s two campuses with 
700 students in k-5th grade and 
about 300 in grades 6-8.

 These days she and her staff 
are proudly at the forefront of 
PUSD’s improving API test 
scores, solidly at the top, as 
highest performing elementary 
school in the district for the 
second year. 

“Each year we’ve moved 
forward in our test scores, 
which I attribute to our really 
impassioned educators here, 
a balanced curriculum and 
the tireless dedication of our 
parents and the extended 
community. We started at 789 
in ’06 and moved up 100 points 
by 2009 and indications are we 
again improved in 2010.

Karen Miller, an SME parent 
reflected, “Ms. Bluemel is a 
champion of both academic 
excellence and musical artistry, 
so it’s no wonder she has led 
Sierra Madre School into one 
of the top performing schools 
in the state.”

Now Bluemel’s daughter, Emily 
Clark, is carrying on the family 
music tradition in her role as 
the Upper Campus drama, 
vocal and glee club teacher for 
the PAK, Performing Arts Kids, 
funded by the school’s yearly 

 Come September 11, Bluemel 
and her group, The Late 
Bloomers, will share their music 
with A Taste of Sierra Madre. 
They’ll warm up an enthusiastic 
crowd at 1 p.m. that day, 
anticipating the Smooth Jazz 
sounds of numerous other 
jazz musicians at the event’s 
headliner venue later that day 
in the SME auditorium.

SME’s intimate 1920’s vintage 
auditorium of only 525 seats 
was restored during the 
facility’s remodel a few years 
ago, and will provide a unique 
opportunity to get up close 
and personal with these stellar 
musicians on September 11.

Bluemel’s group and all the 
other musicians are donating 
their performances for the 
event’s two great causes for 
children. Half the funds raised 
will fund cleft palate surgeries 
for children who can’t afford 
them through the non-profit 
Rotaplast organization. The 
other half will fund expanded 
fine arts offerings through the 
Sierra Madre Youth Activity 

The Late Bloomers name is a bit 
of a play on words, referring to 
Bluemel and her husband, Dan 
Ames, who reconnected after 
their friendship in high school 
and married just a decade ago. 
In fact all four of the group, 
Bluemel, Ames, Scott Shepherd 
and Ross Johnsen will turn 60 
this year. 

 Bluemel says she’s always felt 
it important to share with her 
students the importance of a 
balance in life, and that there 
is a real life application for 
music and the arts, though not 
necessarily for personal gain 
or fame. “Music feeds my soul. 
My own life would be so empty 
without music! It’s as much 
a part of me as the education 
side. ” 

 To attend the concert and 
participate in other Taste of Sierra 
Madre events, purchase tickets 
in Sierra Madre at : Savor the 
Flavor, Best Buy Drugs, The Bottle 
Shop or Belle’s Nest. Online 
tickets are also available at www. 

ASU President Julia Morreale (center) with ASU 
Cabinet members Sascha Rosemond and Emily Near.

YoGamaDreNew students only.
Limited time offer.

MVNews this week:  Page 6