RHC Superintendent/ President Retirement Party


Noah Garcia, Editor-in-Chief

  After Years of service to the Rio Hondo Community, Teresa Dreyfuss is stepping down

The position of President/ Superintendent is often a short one, where the seat is filled for a couple of years and then the person is replaced. This short lifespan makes it hard for them to accomplish much, especially with the shifting needs and viewpoints of the college and its interests.

Teresa Dreyfuss and Rio Hondo have always had intersecting goals; those being the flourishing of its students and the betterment of its community. After 32 years of dedicated service, Superintendent/ President Dreyfuss is retiring from her position, a time capped by her Retirement Celebration Dinner at the Doubletree Hotel in Whittier, Thursday May 9, 2019.

The dinner started at 6:30, with opening remarks by the Master of Ceremonies Henry Gee, which eventually led to Dreyfuss addressing the crowd and thanking them for their support of her work.

During her own speech, Dreyfuss remarked on her time at the school and how she had achieved so much,

“I’m grateful for Rio Hondo College for making my American dream come true… Education has been my ticket to succeed, along with my strong work ethic, discipline, determination, and always remember where I came from.”

It was then that she received commendations from dozens of people all representing cities, programs, and special interest groups- With several city officials presenting her awards for the works she’s done for their communities.  

Many of the speakers praised Teresa for creating a flourishing platform for their communities to stand on. Martin J. Plourde, Superintendent of the Whittier Union High School District, conveyed the reach her positive influence has had on the area.

“You don’t know too many superintendent presidents. Who can truly say that their legacy is affecting the current 11,00 students and the future hundreds of students that will be coming to our districts and matriculating to Rio Hondo College, because of the hope Teresa Dreyfuss gives our kids.”

Norma Edith Garcia, Member of Rio’s Board of Trustees, addressed the crowd on the dedication Dreyfuss has had to the college and it’s community.

“We know that the average Superintendent / President works three to five years, if they’re lucky. At Rio Hondo College, she has managed to serve over over 20 students annually, over 1000 staff and faculty annually with a  budget of almost 90 million annual . What I’ve learned from you [Dreyfuss] is that we just can’t just think about today, but plan tomorrow because there is a lot of responsibilities on our shoulders.”

Many people praised her creation of dozens of different programs with her smart monetary management has helped Rio Hondo, as well as its contributors to Flourish. At the end of the night, celebrity Cici Lau (Brooklyn 99/ Legally Blonde) entertained the crowd with her voice, as well as filling the dance floor with attendees.

From a young age, Teresa was encouraged to pursue higher learning, with her mother doing all of the housework so that she could focus on her studies. She would later immigrate to America from Taiwan, where she’d eventually work at Rio as an accountant in 1987.

She would steadily rise through the ranks, as she would become interim superintendent/president in 2012, later permanently taking the post a year later.  

President Dreyfuss has racked up a number of achievements during the last several years. This includes ensuring no layoffs and furloughs during the last economic recession, execute close to $300 million in construction projects, open three regional campuses,create a four-year degree in automotive technology as well as a free year of tuition for incoming high schoolers named the “Rio Promise.”

Earlier this year, She was awarded with the  Distinguished Woman of the Year for the 57th Assembly District. Dreyfuss officially retires June 30th, leaving a position in the community that will be hard to fill.