14 teachers and 1 administrator retiring from Downey Unified

Downey Unified retirees, top row from left: Kirby Drake (Warren), Marc Lurie (Warren) and Phil Davis (Downey Unified). Bottom row: Jane Chandler (Sussman), Karla Hufenbach (Lewis), Suzan Wilson (Rio Hondo), Maggie Stava (Rio Hondo), Monica Taylor (Rio Hondo) and Mary Esposito (Lewis).   Not pictured: Joy Clark (Imperial), Tracy Garrido (Columbus), Steven Guthrie (Downey), Susan Heckert (Imperial), Jim Quick (Warren) and Jon Zack (Alameda).

Downey Unified retirees, top row from left: Kirby Drake (Warren), Marc Lurie (Warren) and Phil Davis (Downey Unified). Bottom row: Jane Chandler (Sussman), Karla Hufenbach (Lewis), Suzan Wilson (Rio Hondo), Maggie Stava (Rio Hondo), Monica Taylor (Rio Hondo) and Mary Esposito (Lewis). 

Not pictured: Joy Clark (Imperial), Tracy Garrido (Columbus), Steven Guthrie (Downey), Susan Heckert (Imperial), Jim Quick (Warren) and Jon Zack (Alameda).

DOWNEY – The Downey Education Association and Downey Unified held a retirement celebration May 11 at the Rio Hondo Event Center for teachers and staff retiring at the end of this school year. 


Fourteen teachers and one administrator are retiring. In all, they represent 390 total years of service to Downey Unified students. 


Phil Davis, director of CTE (Career Technical Education) and Support Programs, is retiring in July. He has been with Downey Unified for 32 years and has been an integral part of further developing the district’s CTE programs. 


In 2015, he helped obtain a $6 million Career Pathway Trust grant to expand Downey Unified’s CTE programs and pathways, resulting in the district becoming one of the leading CTE districts in the state. 


Davis also facilitated the advancement of the Project Lead the Way programs into all 20 schools, along with being the driving force behind Downey Unified’s significant participation in the SkillsUSA state and national competitions. 


“Phil has helped grow our Project Lead The Way programs at the lower levels, incorporating Launch at the elementary level, and Gateway at the middle school level,” said Board of Education President Bobbie Samperi. “Downey Unified is one of the very few districts in the nation to provide PLTW from transitional kindergarten through 12th grade. This is the main reason why our district as a whole was designated as a National P21 Exemplar District.” 


Retiring from the elementary school level are Joy Clark (Imperial), Mary Esposito (Lewis), Susan Heckert (Imperial), Karla Hufenbach (Lewis), Maggie Stava (Rio Hondo), Monica Taylor (Rio Hondo), Suzan Wilson (Rio Hondo) and Jon Zack (Alameda). 


The middle school level will only be saying farewell to one retiree this year: Jane Chandler from Sussman Middle School.


Retiring from the high school level are Kirby Drake (Warren), Tracy Garrido (Columbus), Steven Guthrie (Downey), Marc Lurie (Warren) and Jim Quick (Warren).


“On behalf of the Board of Education, we want to thank you for the almost 400 years of dedicated service you’ve provided to our students,” said Samperi. “Each of you has had a positive effect on children’s lives and you are the reasons why Downey Unified is such an amazing district.”