Le­land pro­motes Lathrop SHIELD

Ripon Bulletin - - Front Page - VINCE REMBULAT

Re­spect the SHIELD. That’s one of the new tra­di­tions at Lathrop High in­tro­duced by first-year Prin­ci­pal Greg Le­land.

This pro­gram – SHIELD is an acro­nym for Spar­tans Honor In­tegrity En­gage­ment Lead­er­ship De­ter­mi­na­tion – is sim­i­lar to that of Honor the Code

at Man­teca High.

“We were look­ing to come up with a char­ac­ter pro­gram,” said Le­land, who con­tacted MHS As­sis­tant Prin­ci­pal Troy Fast to help model Re­spect the SHIELD.

Stu­dents at LHS can now look for­ward to be­ing rec­og­nized and even re­warded for their good be­hav­ior with pos­i­tive, tan­gi­ble in­cen­tives.

The paint­ing of the shield, much like the char­ac­ter pro­gram, is a work in progress, with the brand­ing of the logo still needed to com­plete this cam­pus cen­ter­piece.

Le­land was hired back in July as prin­ci­pal at LHS, tak­ing over from Mike Hor­wood. He spent the pre­vi­ous year at the school as the as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal

“I hit the floor run­ning when I was hired,” he said. “I worked all through the sum­mer.”

Le­land is the third prin­ci­pal at Lathrop High, which opened in 2008. Dur­ing that time, he was still at Sierra High, where he helped open that school in 1994 – Le­land taught Health, World His­tory, Euro­pean His­tory, and coached var­sity foot­ball along with track and field.

By 2011, he was the Sierra vice prin­ci­pal, hav­ing per­formed var­i­ous ad­min­is­tra­tive du­ties, in­clud­ing Dean of Ac­tiv­i­ties, Dean of Ath­let­ics, and Sum­mer School prin­ci­pal.

His time at the Man­teca Uni­fied School District plays out like con­nect the dots.

A prod­uct of Lin­coln High in Stock­ton, Le­land got his start in ed­u­ca­tion in 1985 at Lathrop El­e­men­tary School.

“It’s now come full cir­cle,” he said of his ca­reer last Fri­day.

That cir­cle in­cluded his time at MHS, where he also em­barked on a 20-year coach­ing ca­reer in foot­ball. Le­land also coached track and field.

He was an as­sis­tant for the Buf­faloes along with Jack Miller and head coach Bob Lee. Le­land is god­fa­ther to Lee’s son, Andrew, who is the vice prin­ci­pal at Sierra.

At MHS – he was there from 1986 to 1992 – Le­land taught Health, Psy­chol­ogy and Peer Re­source.

He was at East Union for two years be­fore moving on to Sierra High, which, at the time, was the third com­pre­hen­sive high school of the Man­teca Uni­fied School District when it opened in 1994.

As the head coach of the Tim­ber­wolves, he had a who’s who among his group of as­sis­tants – in­cluded were cur­rent Sierra High Prin­ci­pal Steve Clark (he was the fresh­men coach), MHS Prin­ci­pal Frank Gon­za­les and Buf­faloes head coach Eric Reis, to name a few.

He has a long list of for­mer stu­dents and play­ers.

Take his staff at LHS, where Le­land once coached the likes of Erica Chapman, Jarrod Daniels, Rodney Daniels, Court­ney Whit­lock, Heather An­der­son, Megan An­der­son, Randy Bal­tazar, Krys­tle Davis, Stephanie Maestretti, An­drea Vali­quette and Alan Cal­pito.

As for oth­ers on his staff, he grad­u­ated with As­sis­tant Prin­ci­pal Martha Dent at Lin­coln High and coached Vice Prin­ci­pal Chuck Selna, who was a stand­out foot­ball player at Tracy High, in the 1987 North vs. South Lions All-Star Game.

“I’ve known (vice prin­ci­pal) Bill Pi­nol for over 30 years,” Le­land added.

As a new prin­ci­pal, he was asked to bring in a men­tor, turn­ing to his old friend in Rick Aru­can.

“I learned a lot from him at Sierra,” Le­land said of his for­mer prin­ci­pal.

They were at that school from Day 1, help­ing im­ple­ment pro­grams and tra­di­tions that con­tin­ues on through this day.

Le­land is hop­ing to do like­wise at LHS.

“We al­ready have plenty of school spirit among the stu­dents, teach­ers and staff,” he said.

Although sports are one way of reach­ing out to the com­mu­nity – LHS is in its last year in the Val­ley Oak League, and will be moved into the new-look Western Ath­letic Con­fer­ence be­gin­ning in 2018 – Le­land in­di­cated that aca­demics have been more in fore­front given the suc­cess of last year’s Aca­demic De­cathlon team and the re­sults of the re­cent Ad­vanced Place­ment tests.

He al­ready had a strong bond with those at the feeder school sites – namely, Lathrop El­e­men­tary, Moss­dale and Joseph Wid­mer – know­ing prin­ci­pals David Sil­veira (Lathrop El­e­men­tary), Su­san San­ders (Moss­dale) and Kat Brown-Sny­der (Wid­mer) from over the years.

Brown-Sny­der was his side­line trainer dur­ing his days of coach­ing the Tim­ber­wolves.

Le­land is a grad­u­ate of Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­sity, Stanis­laus, earn­ing his de­gree in So­cial Ser­vices. Prior to that, he spent a few years at Delta Col­lege.

Ac­cord­ing to MUSD, he has a mas­ter’s in School Coun­sel­ing from the Uni­ver­sity of LaVerne, and holds a sin­gle sub­ject teach­ing cre­den­tial in So­cial Science, a pupil per­son­nel ser­vices cre­den­tial in School Coun­sel­ing, and an Ad­min­is­tra­tive Ser­vice Cre­den­tial.

Le­land and his wife Deb­bie are par­ents to grown chil­dren, Mike and Brit­tany.

In 2013, he was in­ducted into the Man­teca Hall of Fame for his ded­i­ca­tion to young peo­ple that now spans over three decades.

His “pro­fes­sional in­tegrity is ex­cep­tional, and his be­lief in the power of pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ships con­tinue to earn the re­spect and trust of the school com­mu­nity,” said MUSD of Greg Le­land from a few years ago.

That de­scrip­tion still fits him to this day.


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