College of Education & Integrative Studies
Class of '08
The daughter of teachers and granddaughter of a school administrator, Rebecca Summers often says that teaching is in her blood. “I can’t remember there ever being another choice for me,” she recalls. “When I walked into the classroom on my first day of kindergarten, I knew I never wanted to leave school. And I never did!”
Today, that passion for education has made a world of difference to many students who might never have made it through school otherwise. Summers served as assistant principal at one continuation high school and since 2008, she has been principal of Whitcomb, the Glendora Unified School District’s continuation high school. Under her leadership, Whitcomb has moved from an underperforming campus, with low staff morale and even lower student attendance, to being designated as a California Model Continuation High School.
“I love what I am doing now – working with continuation high school students,” she says. “It is such a huge opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of kids.”
After receiving an undergraduate degree from Cal State Fullerton, Summers held a variety of teaching posts before earning a master’s degree in educational leadership from Cal Poly Pomona in 2008. She praises the personal attention she received at the university, “which is what I give back to my own students.”
“I never felt like a number at Cal Poly,” says Summers, who was a single mother of three boys when she arrived at the university. “I like to say that I entered the educational leadership program at Cal Poly a teacher and graduated as a leader. The professors in this program truly modeled exemplary leadership at every level.”
Her sons are now grown – the youngest, at 21, is a Cal Poly Pomona student – and she has since remarried. But one thing in her life has not changed: her unwavering dedication to her profession.
“I have never lost my passion for teaching and learning and connecting with kids of all ages,” she says. And she similarly would offer new graduates this advice: “Above all, be honest, be courageous, and love what you do.”
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