Board appoints former La Serna principal as new superintendent

Ashley Lord, Features Editor

Martin Plourde will be taking the job of superintendent of the Whittier Union High School District after the current superintendent, Sandra Thorstenson, steps down from her position in June of 2016.

Plourde attended high school at Loyola High School of Los Angeles. He then obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts and a Master’s degree in Counseling and Guidance from Loyola Marymount University. He got his Administrative Services Credential from the University of California, Riverside.

Currently, Plourde is the district’s Assistant Superintendent of Business Services. He oversees four divisions in the Whittier Union High School District: Fiscal Services, Information Technology, Food Services, and Business Operations. Fiscal Services is responsible for the district’s financial operations. Information Technology is in charge of computer related issues. Food Services is in charge of the cafeterias. Business Operations is responsible for construction, maintenance, custodial services, and purchasing.

Before he became Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, Plourde was Principal of La Serna High School from July 2005 to June 2009. As principal, Plourde started two very important La Serna traditions that still continue today.

“I worked with Mrs. George and the administrative staff to come up with the idea of the ‘Be Your Best’ Awards,” Plourde said.

Plourde even participated in this year’s awards earlier in February.

“I convinced Mr. LaVigne to start a new program at the school to help our students. He took the idea and ran and turned it into the OASIS program which makes the difference in the lives of students and mentors every year,” Plourde said.

Plourde’s willingness to help students has not been forgotten.

“He was supportive of anything we would do to help students improve,” history teacher Pat Kieta said.

Plourde admits to his dedication to students.

“For me, it has always been about the students. Whether it was a sporting event, a drama or music performance, a pep rally or just hanging out at lunch in the quad talking with students, they always brought a smile to my face,” Plourde said.

Plourde acknowledges the hard-working and dedicated staff at La Serna who also care just as deeply about the students.

“He was hands on, always available, he was accessible. . . he was familiar with the kids and familiar with the staff,” social science teacher Paul Magness said.

Others noticed his experience and leadership as well.

“He has a very strong character. He’s got a lot of experience and he knows what his goals and objectives are,” Magness said.

Plourde was surprised when he received a phone call telling him the Board was interested in making him superintendent of the school district.

“It honestly is not anything I ever thought of. When Mrs. T announced her retirement, I knew that the Board would go through a good process to decide how to replace her. . . I was shocked, humbled, and honored that they considered me,” Plourde said.

Plourde wants to follow Sandra Thorstenson’s work once he is superintendent to keep a high-performance district that is recognized at the state and national level.

“We have a great community, unbelievable students and the hardest working staff members of any district I know of. I hope to continue to work side by side with everyone to see how high we can soar,” Plourde said.