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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Gabrielino welcomes Dr. Rynkiewicz


   “I want everyone to feel like they’re being supported,” explained Gabrielino High School’s new principal, Dr. David Rynkiewicz. “I want them to feel like they have a voice and that we can collaborate. And, I want people to have fun.” 

   A San Gabriel Valley native, Rynkiewicz remembers visiting Claro’s Italian Market and Hawaii Supermarket as a child. Like generations of Gabrielino alumni, Rynkiewicz graduated at Santa Anita Park.

   “It’s full circle for me to be principal of Gabrielino High School, thinking about where I have been in my life and where I am now,” Rynkiewicz reflected.

   Rynkiewicz discovered his passion for working with students as a substitute teacher. Since then, his career has quickly climbed the rungs of the educational ladder. He pursued a teaching credential in math, which led to him becoming the department chairperson and technology coordinator at San Dimas High School. From there, he was hired as an assistant principal at West Covina High School.

And now, as he begins his fourteenth year in education, Rynkiewicz has become the fifth principal of Gabrielino.

   “I am so excited to work with Dr. Rynkiewicz this year!” exclaimed Cyndi Chiou, PTSA president and mother of Lauren Chiou, senior. “I saw first hand that he understands the importance of the family-school partnership. And, we’ve already seen his commitment to our students and their mental wellness.”

   His commitment to making sure students, staff, and parents feel fulfilled is what drives Rynkiewicz. He wants to provide students with experiences they can use after graduation and he wants parents to feel proud of their children’s success at Gabrielino. He also wants teachers and staff to feel supported and that they make a positive impact.

   “I can have the hardest day but, when I start interacting with students, I re-center why I’m here,” Rynkiewicz shared.

   Scott Facher, who has been an English teacher at Gabrielino for 20 years, values perseverance in a principal, especially when it comes to providing equitable programs for English-Language Learners.

   “[I feel it’s important to have] not only a communicator who [leads] with transparency, but a principal with vision and follow-through,” Facher stated. “By vision, I mean including a plan for the underrepresented kids at Gabrielino. And, by follow-through, I mean the will to not let things go when they’re not immediately going well, but hang in there with the difficulties.”

   Clearly, Rynkiewicz fits this bill, having been hired over several other candidates for the position.

Assistant Principal Vince Lopez, who has worked at Gabrielino since its founding, is excited about the school’s new leadership.

   “I look forward to seeing how Dr. Rynkiewicz approaches [the re-opening of the campus] because that’s a big task. We’re trying to make sure that we hear the students’ concerns, we hear the parents’ concerns, and that we’re able to facilitate an environment that’s gonna help kids be successful.”

   Rynkiewicz’ goals also include expanding the selection of elective courses to include programs like dance and sports medicine, as well as getting lower classmen more involved.

   “When I was an elementary school student,” Rynkiewicz began, “the high school kids used to come down and do PE with us. They made us feel like, ‘Yeah, one day we’re gonna be at that high school’. I think we have a great opportunity to help all of our elementary kids feel like they have an identity to come to Gab one day.”         

   Helping kids is a passion that unites Gabrielino’s faculty and staff. Rynkiewicz stated that he has witnessed this and has experienced a very kind and friendly culture at the school.

   “I think everyone wants to see Gabrielino High School succeed, and so a lot of other faculty and staff that I’ve met in San Gabriel Unified have been very supportive and very helpful,” he noted. “They’ve been cheering us on. They really want us to be an exemplar school.”

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About the Contributor
Sophia Pu
Sophia Pu, Editor in Chief
Sophia Pu is the Editor in Chief for the school newspaper, marking her fourth year with the team. Outside of her editorial duties, Sophia is involved in Speech and Debate and enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time in nature. Her commitment to the newspaper grew from a passion for interviewing a diverse range of individuals she might not have interacted with otherwise.
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