TCHS Rampage

Temple City High School


June 13, 2017

Dr. Gray says goodbye to TCUSD, hello to John Muir


The students Oak Avenue Intermediate Principal Dr. Lawton Gray works with daily probably call Disneyland their happy place. But for Dr. Gray, the happiest place on Earth is much closer: Oak Ave.

“There’s not a day where I get up in the morning and go, ‘Ugh, I have to go to work this morning,’” Dr. Gray said. “I have not felt that way one time coming here, and it’s because of the environment.”

After working as a dean and assistant principal at Temple City High School (TCHS) for two years each and principal at Oak Ave. for the past ten, Dr. Gray will be leaving the Temple City Unified School District (TCUSD) to serve as principal of John Muir High School, his alma mater, starting this fall. Following notice of the departure of current John Muir High School Principal Mr. Tim Sippel, Dr. Gray applied for the position, feeling that it would be a good time in his life to return to where he grew up.

“Muir gets a bad rep sometimes because it’s in northwest Pasadena. It’s sometimes looked at as a bad school to send your kids to, but I want to change that mentality because there are some wonderful things occurring at John Muir,” Dr. Gray said. “All that’s known are the problems they have, but I’m looking to change the perception of the school and bring more families back.”

A new job position is not the only change in Dr. Gray’s life: he recently obtained his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern California. His studies gave him a different perspective to administration and to working with students. He hopes that, seeing his expensive yet rewarding experience, students know he is a lifelong learner. Dr. Gray also earned his Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Point Loma Nazarene University, where he met and befriended Oak Avenue Intermediate Assistant Principal Mr. Daryl Topalian.

While his future welcomes exciting opportunities, Dr. Gray still looks back at his time at TCUSD with love. He cherishes when he and Mr. Topalian did pushups together while working at TCHS, and admires the camaraderie of the Oak Ave. staff when they dressed up every Halloween. Above all, he will miss the family who has made Temple City a small town have as much spirit as a lively city.

“I’ve worked so hard because I felt that that’s what students in this district deserve, and it’s tough leaving because I’ve been here for more than a quarter of my life,” Dr. Gray said. “I finally know the definition of bittersweet: I’m excited for going to John Muir, but I’ve also really appreciated and will miss the students, the parents, the staff and everyone I’ve come in contact with at TCUSD, because they have truly shaped who I am as an administrator and as a person.”

PHOTO/ Janeth Inatomi

About the Author

Bobbins Moose
Bobbins Moose is the mascot of Rampage. He represents all alumni that have come and gone through Rampage program here at Temple City High School.


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