Rowland Unified welcomes new high school principals
Mitchell Brunyer used to wrestle at Rowland High School. Now the former Raider will be wrestling with budgets and schedules at the local high school.
Brunyer is the new Rowland principal, one of a handful of administrators to lead the Rowland Heights school.
He is one of the new administrators named by the Rowland Unified School District, including two new vice principals at Nogales High School.
The 1989 Rowland grad replaces Robbie Robinson, who retired to spend more time with family after 40 years of service to Rowland Unified.
The new principal looks forward to many years at his alma mater. The 38-year-old is glad to be back.
"I always had a positive experience at Rowland High," Brunyer
said. "I've stayed in touch with teachers and classmates."
Brunyer grew up in Rowland Heights. He attended Killian Elementary School and Alvarado Middle School.
At Rowland High, he served as captain of the wrestling team and also played as linebacker on the Raider football team.
In fact, his athleticism made the young man want to coach himself. So Brunyer decided to become a teacher.
He studied history at Whittier College, where he also played football. But the high cost of a higher education forced Brunyer to drop out.
"My brother had joined the Army, so I decided to sign up too for the college benefits," the Rowland resident recalled.
The young recruit landed in logistics, where he handled ammunition. Brunyer ended up working with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.
"Later, I was deployed to Haiti, where I gathered weapons in a guns for gifts program run by the United States," the Army specialist said.
Meanwhile, Brunyer continued his long-distance romance with another Rowland grad.
"We'd write each other two or three times a week. Of course, that was before e-mail," Brunyer laughed.
The two decided to marry, and his new wife moved to Fort Bragg.
"They were good times, we really grew together," he remembered.
After his tour of duty, Brunyer went back to school, earning his bachelor's degree in history and teaching credential from Cal State Fullerton.
"While I was student teaching, I fell in love with teaching," Brunyer said.
The new instructor got a job teaching history at Diamond Ranch, where he also helped coach the football and wrestling teams.
"Principal Bill Weirich hired me to teach history at Rowland. I also coached the academic teams, working with mock trials and the academic decathlon," Brunyer said.
The popular instructor earned his master's degree in education from Chapman University. He was ready to become an administrator.
"I went into administration because I thought I could help more people that way," Brunyer said.
Three years ago, he became a vice principal at Nogales High School, where he was in charge of discipline.
When the top job opened at Rowland High, Brunyer thought it might be a good time to return to his alma mater.
"I think teaching is all about relationships. And the teachers, staff and students at Rowland have always had a great relationship with one another," Brunyer said.
Still the young administrator faces challenges in these times of huge budget deficits.
"My job will be to find ways to maintain our student services despite a loss of resources. Rowland High
School has always offered students a wide range of opportunities and I plan to continue that," Brunyer promised.
Leave it to a champion wrestler to grapple with the budget.
Doi Johnson is also glad to be returning to his alma mater, Nogales High School, as a new vice principal. He looks forward to working with Principal Nancy Padilla at his old school.
Johnson had been an assistant principal at Lynwood High School, where he was responsible for discipline, attendance and security.
For 16 years, Johnson taught physical education at Jordan and Jefferson High Schools in Los Angeles. He had also been a special education math teacher at Gardena High School. Johnson also taught history and language arts at Eliot Middle School in Pasadena.
Rowland's newest administrator received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from Whittier College. He earned a masters in administration from Pepperdine University.
Johnson also has had many years of coaching experience. He served as president of the Los Angeles Football Coaches Association from 1997 to 2007. The popular coach has won many coaching awards, including Coach of the Year from the "Los Angeles Times."
Formerly the assistant principal at Laguna Hills High School, Sam Oramas joins Rowland Unified from Saddleback Valley Unified. Oramas was responsible for discipline and attendance in Laguna Hills. He is now a new vice principal at Nogales High School.
Earlier in his career, Oramas served as dean of students at Temple City High School, where he handled discipline. Oramas also taught math and social science at Downey High School for seven years. There he worked with at-risk students, as well as English language learners.
Fluent in Spanish, Oramas received his doctorate in law from Brigham Young University and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering.
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