One of the Best Magnet Programs in America

The Magnet programs offered on campus has been ranked nationally as one of the top 20 schools in the nation.

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CREDIT: Andre Davancens | The Mirror

Superintendnent Austin Beutner (RIght) and Principal Gardea (Left) poses for a portrait outside of Van Nuys High School.

From over nearly 4,000 magnet schools across the country, VNHS has been recognized as one of the top 20 by the Magnet Schools of America (MSA), a national nonprofit professional education association for advanced studies. This award affirms the school’s 36-year history of excellence, with its three magnet programs consisting of the Medical program, the Performing Arts program, and the Science/Technology/Math program.

Principal Yolanda Gardea will accept the National Magnet School of Excellence Merit Award during an upcoming awards ceremony at MSA’s 38th National Conference. In addition to the commendation of the school’s various accomplishments, Gardea will also be recognized at the conference for her contributions. After 8 years of commitment and dedication to students at VNHS and 36 years as an educator at LAUD, Gardea has decided to retire at the end of 2020-21 school year.

Without Gareda’s drive to see ALL students succeed, VNHS would not have been the same without her. While VNHS was a good school before she was principal, over the years the impact Gardea has made with her refinements and improvements to many of the school’s programs is what makes VNHS the award-winning school it is today.

Before Gardea took over the role of school principal, the school’s residential graduation rate was at 24%. Since she has been principal, her additions of the Freshman Academy and the English Language Development Academy saw residential graduation rates reach approximately 70%. Her investment into the school’s many extracurricular programs has made a profound impact on students’ education. Sports teams, teams involved in academic competitions, the yearbook program, the automotive competitions (SkillsUSA), and the school’s journalism program have all thrived under Gardea’s 8 years of leadership, winning numerous accolades.

Now, in 2021, Gardea has continued her commitment to student’s health and education during the covid-19 pandemic. While the shift to online learning was sudden and unexpected to everyone – even Gardea – she followed all guidelines set forth by Governor Newsom and the City of Los Angeles while also allowing students, parents, and teachers to give their input as to how to safely educate students.

While it may not have been easy, I along with the rest of The Mirror staff, would like to thank Gardea for her tireless efforts to better the school. You will be missed.