Hong leaves DB for new position


Calvin Ru

Instructional Dean David Hong instructs his APES class a few days before he will transfer to Monrovia.

Brian Chang, Asst. News Editor

As students prepare to leave school for two weeks of winter break, one Diamond Bar High School administrator is packing his bags in preparation for a final farewell.

David Hong, the school’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Fine Arts Instructional Dean who has worked at DBHS for the past 25 years, will be transferring to Monrovia High School to become the Associate Principal of Curriculum and Instruction. The announcement, made via email on Nov. 23, trails former principal Catherine Real’s decision just three months prior to transfer to the district office of the Monrovia Unified School District.

The job opportunity was posted on a website for educators named Edjoin, the same one that DBHS is currently using to search for a new principal.

“I went through two rounds of interviews with the Monrovia School District, and after the second round of interviews, they contacted me and told me they wanted to offer me the position,” Hong said.

Hong has been a teacher at DBHS for 25 years, becoming an Instructional Dean 14 years ago. He currently teaches AP Environmental Science after having taught IB Environmental Systems and Societies, AP Physics B, AP Physics C, Physics, and Chemistry at DBHS. In addition to his contributions in the classroom, Hong has served for 17 years as a scorer for APES exams, and was a member of the APES Development Committee for three years, as well as a College Board Advisor for the APES Development Committee.

Due to his position as DBHS’ STEM Instructional Dean and his involvement with the creation and scoring of the APES exam, Hong is familiar with the math and science curricula taught on campus. However, one of the challenges he expects to face at Monrovia is the widened range of topics he will be in charge of.

“I will be responsible [for] the whole school, rather than a few departments. I will have to learn more about literature and social sciences, world languages, and become familiar with their standards and a lot more knowledgeable on those subjects,” he said.

Hong will begin working at Monrovia in January and said that he expects a large workload. Since the school was unable to find someone to fill the position during the summer, Monrovia High School has been without an Associate Principal for the entire first semester.

Hong will be supervising more on-campus activities and extracurriculars alongside his duties as Associate Principal. He is confident that he will be able to hit the ground running and learn the basics quickly.

Hong said he will regret leaving behind is his APES classes because of his enjoyment for teaching and meeting new students every year. Hong is unsure what the future may have in store for him in regards to teaching, as he has not been told whether or not he will be instructing at Monrovia, and said that he will miss his friends and coworkers at DBHS that have worked with him for the past quarter century.

“On both a professional and a personal level, I will miss having [Hong] around. Personally, I think we serve as each other’s mentor and sounding board. That is an invaluable form of support that everyone should have,” math teacher Dena Lordi said. “I was the IB coordinator for a long time, and for every second of those 15 years, Mr. Hong was there, helping me meet all of the challenges that the program encountered.”

Despite journeying off into a new environment, Hong said he looks forward to change and thinks of it as a positive experience in his life that motivates him to keep doing his best.

“You have students for one year, and then you have new students the next year, and that keeps us fresh and motivated to do a good job,” Hong said. “The opportunity to grow really appealed to me. I think if you’re not growing, then you’re missing out on life and I feel a little bit like I’m doing the same thing over and over again, and I’m not growing as much as I’d like to currently in this position.”

According to interim principal Denis R. Paul, Hong’s position will be split into three pieces for second semester: Mathematics, Science, and Performing Arts, which will be headed by Latitia Thomas, Nicole Cabase, and Steve Acciani, respectively.

“Those are the three major components of [Hong’s] division, so it was a very natural way to break things up,” Paul said. “It would make a lot more sense to me if the permanent principal is the one who gets to assist in picking the new dean.”

The teachers were chosen based on four criteria: each teacher is preeminent in their field, each has the respect of their colleagues, each has expressed that they are not interested in becoming the permanent replacement dean, and each has a schedule that allows them to be out of the classroom for at least one period a day in order to attend meetings with school officials.