Brea Old and New: Tick-Tock, History Isn't So Boring After All™ ~ Charlie the Clock

Brea Olinda Unified School District

  • Brea: Landmark in a centennial story told by Author Teresa Hampson

    3 years ago by

    Brea Landmarks List - Brea Boulevard North/Central

      Brea Grammar School before transitioning to Brea Junior High. Courtesy of JoAnn Penn Haws

      In the spirit of the "BJH Bobcats" photos courtesy of BOHS incoming junior, Jennifer Choi.

        Brea Junior High, 400 N. Brea Blvd…The front building dates from 1916, but its original second-story auditorium and decorative exterior trim were removed after the 1933 Long Beach Earthquake. It was substantially modernized in 2006, including relocation of the main entrance from west to north. The auditorium, PE and non-modular classroom wings were added in 1949. It served as Brea Grammar School until 1956, when it was transitioned to a junior high with the opening of Arovista.
  • Brea’s former mayors set the pace for our future

    3 years ago by

    Did you know Brea has 14 living former mayors, all appointed by their peers, 10 who still live in Brea?

      They have presided over Brea during different eras and often under challenging conditions, but I am only highlighting former mayors not currently on council.

        Mayor Lynn Daucher is seen in this 1998 photo at the helm of a bulldozer for the groundbreaking of Brea Downtown. (Courtesy of Lynn Daucher)

          Our living former mayors date back to 1964, when then 28-year-old Thomas Speers was appointed mayor for a two-year term. Speers now lives in Colorado, and recalled how he and his council were successful in changing the position of city administrator to a full-time city manager and other professional staffing needed for a growing city.

            During Rex Gaede’s turn as mayor in 1977, he was instrumental in changing the mayoral term from two years to one year so more council members could serve in the center seat. Gaede’s most memorable mayor moment was presiding over the opening of the Brea Mall, a very big deal for the community.

              Ron Isles, who now lives in Arkansas, served on the council two times, and as mayor in 1982 and again in 1992. He said he worked with the city manager and finance manager to set minimum budget constraints to assure that Brea would always have money and be able to pay its bills. That seems to still be the case today.

                A big change came in 1984 when Norma Arias Hicks Buckeye, now of Fallbrook, was appointed mayor. She was the first woman and first Hispanic to be elected to Brea’s City Council. She was instrumental in getting Sacramento bigwigs to create Chino Hills State Park, and also fought the landfill expansion.

                  Carrey Nelson, our oldest living mayor at age 90, served as mayor in 1984 and 1990. He served 14 years on council, and the downtown’s huge transformation came under his watch.

                    Mayor in 1990, Wayne Wedin said working with a strong team of staff, council and the community was successful as was developing a strong relationship with the school district. He was also instrumental in starting Brea’s Art in Public Places.

                      Burnie Dunlap became mayor in 1992, 1993 and 1996. A highlight of being mayor was the completion of the Brea Community Center. He now lives in Anaheim Hills, but says he still loves Brea!

                        Bev Perry, mayor in 1995, 2000 and 2003, became mayor in 1995 and the next day Orange County declared bankruptcy. She spent much of that year in meetings with other O.C. cities who also had money invested with the county. In the end, she said, they were able to craft a deal that returned nearly all of Brea’s money back to the city.

                          Lynn Daucher, mayor 1997-98, said her most memorable mayor moment was at the downtown groundbreaking in October 1998. She said it was culmination of years of hard work by several city councils, but the best part was Daucher at the controls of the bulldozer. Something I doubt she has repeated.

                            John Beauman, mayor in 2004 and 2009, especially enjoyed commemorating the Brea Sports Park opening in 2008, and also serving as president of the Orange County Division of the League of California Cities.

                              Former police chief Bill Lentini was mayor in 2004. His goal on council was to help bring civility back to our local government and finally make the sports park a reality. During his mayoral year, he saw the revitalization of South Brea Boulevard and safeguards set for the hillsides.

                                Don Schweitzer was mayor in 2008 and 2012, following in the mayoral footsteps from the past of his father and grandfather. His favorite accomplishment as mayor was presenting the idea of a Brea war memorial, getting it funded and finally built.

                                  Ron Garcia served as Brea’s mayor in 2006. Unfortunately he did not respond to my requests.

                                    Brett Murdock served as Brea’s mayor in 2014 and worked hard on the Lagos de Moreno Park rehabilitation project at Laurel School. “It will be an incredible addition to our great city and school district,” he said.

                                      Murdock is the only former mayor who stated he is seriously considering running again for office. Which one? He didn’t say.

                                        Terri Daxon is a freelance writer and the owner of Daxon Marketing Communications. She gives her perspective on Brea issues twice a month. Contact her at

  • Essay youth perspectives on the City of Brea’s future

    3 years ago by

    "Kids Imagine Brea Essay Contest!"


        Calling all Brea school kids in grades, 3rd-6th, we want to hear from you in writing an essay giving your perspective of Brea’s future for “Kids Imagine Brea Essay Contest.”

          •The prize 🔊Four children will be selected with their winning essays and photos to be featured in Brea’s 1st children’s book 📚showcasing Brea’s historic iconic Charlie the Clock and school friends in time travel -- celebrating 100 years in Brea!

            The clock is ticking ⏰ so please don’t delay and submit your essay to the official contest entry website at Click twice on the flyer to read the details!

              All essays will be forwarded to the Brea Education Foundation members who will be judging the contest. We look forward to receiving your essays and wish you the best of luck!

                Note: A panoramic photo of all children in the grade levels of 3rd-6th will be scheduled soon. The objective is to feature as many kids as possible in this once-in-a-lifetime book.

                  Any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

                    Thank you,

                      Carolyn Campbell

  • Country Hills Elementary 2nd Annual Color Run Fundraiser

    3 years ago by

    Country Hills Elementary School PTA's 1st Annual Color Run Fundraiser. Principal Trish Walsh poses as "The Face of Brea" with many of her students!! Charlie the Clock cutout is invited to the 2nd Annual Color Run Fundraiser!

    Country Hills Elementary
    School PTA's 1st Annual Color Run Fundraiser. Principal Trish Walsh poses as "The Face of Brea" with many of her students!! Charlie the Clock caricature cutout is invited to the 2nd Annual Color Run Fundraiser!

      Country Hills Elementary School PTA's 2nd Annual Color Run Fundraiser will be roaring fun on Friday, October 28, 2016. 100% of the proceeds will be used for the enrichment of every student in our school. The event is the school's biggest fundraiser of the year, supporting the PTA operating budget that includes, but is not limited to, art programs, music programs, assemblies, field trips, etc. Our school goal this year is to raise $25,000.

        The Color Run is not a race; it is a fun, fitness-oriented event at which all students may participate. TK through 2nd grade have a 15 minute heat beginning at 9:30am. 3rd through 6th grade have a 20 minute heat beginning at 10am. Aside from helping our school, there are many incredible prizes to be won! Go Cougars!

          Country Hills Elementary School -- Principal Trish Walsh

  • Full STEAM ahead: Brea district’s first magnet school nearly ready to open

    3 years ago by

    By Principal Heather Bojorquez of Laurel Elementary Magnet School of Innovation and Career Exploration

      Laurel Elementary gets a little TLC over the summer.

      Laurel Elementary gets a little TLC over the summer. Photo via Laurel Leopards Instagram account.

        Big things continue to happen in Brea and I couldn’t be happier to write about the opening of Brea Olinda Unified School District’s very first magnet school this fall. For nearly 95 years, Laurel School has been providing elementary education to students in Brea and this summer it is currently undergoing a an exciting transformation! This August, Laurel will reopen its doors as The Laurel Elementary Magnet School of Innovation and Career Exploration (I.C.E.).

          A magnet school is a public school with specialized courses or curricula. "Magnet" schools draw students from across the school boundaries, meaning the school is open to enrollment (pending space availability) to all families who reside in Brea and surrounding communities. Opening a magnet school has been an ongoing discussion amongst the school board and District for the past few years and we are thrilled to see the vision come to life!

            Just as its new name implies, Laurel Elementary Magnet School will emphasize innovation and career exploration. Brea schools are one of the strongest community assets the city of Brea has to offer our businesses, and we invite our community to have a part in the education and programming we provide to Laurel students. That being said, a main focus of the Laurel Elementary Magnet school will be partnerships with local businesses. Brea business leaders will sponsor classrooms and provide students the opportunity to solve real world problems that affect their industries and employees. Equally exciting, additional areas of focus for the school will include 1:1 technology for all students and project-based S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) lessons. Curriculum will be centered around a “hands-on, minds-on” learning approach to help give students the tools they need to address real world issues affecting them in the 21st century and beyond.

              Laurel teachers at work creating lessons for new Magnet school's intercommunication.

              Laurel teachers hard at work creating lessons for new magnet school. Photo via Laurel Leopards Instagram account.

                So far this summer, our dedicated teaching staff have put in hours of professional development working together as a collaborative team to build and develop student centered lessons. Additionally, the process to improve the overall appearance of campus has begun. Students will return to a freshly painted building, new asphalt on the upper playground, and we are most excited about the new flexible furniture that will allow for easy grouping and changing of the traditional classroom to mirror a collaborative work environment.

                  I am elated to be part of the Laurel Elementary Magnet School of I.C.E. community and am humbled and honored to hold the position of principal. My vision is to see students leave our school with an understanding of who they are, what they bring, and the limitless potential they have to impact the world. At Laurel, or students will explore, innovate, and create!

                    We have an amazing school community, knowledgeable and invested teachers, hard-working and caring support staff, dedicated and supportive families. On behalf of the entire Laurel Elementary Magnet School of I.C.E. family, we look forward to making this a successful inaugural year!

                      To learn more about Laurel Elementary Magnet School, please visit BOUSD website.

  • BOHS installs new safety measure for classrooms

    4 years ago by

    Brea Olinda High School recently installed Lock Bloks on classroom doors, a safety measure that will protect students and staff from dangerous threats, such as intruders, on campus.

      The Lock Bloks device enables the user to lock the door from the inside, requiring the teacher to keep the classroom door locked on the outside at all times. The door remains open throughout the day due to the Lock Blok’s retractable feature that prevents the door from shutting all the way. But the device can also quickly allow the user to dismantle the door-prevention feature in the event of a dangerous situation that would require a locked door.

        The Brea Olinda High School installs Lock Bloks on all classrooms, a device that will help with campus safety

        The Brea Olinda High School installs Lock Bloks on all classrooms, a device that will help with campus safety

        “Anything [we] can do to give [ourselves] a few more seconds in the case of an emergency will come in handy,” Bob Parish, BOHS Assistant Principal, said. “It’s a simple process to set it up in the door, so having the Lock Blok’s will come to great use if ever in an emergency situation. And though we wish to never have to use the Lock Blok’s, we truly believe that if ever in an emergency, they will come to great use and protect our student body”.

          In the past years, BOHS has had to use metal pieces to slide under the hallway doors to protect against intruders. But according to Parish, these metal pieces presented several safety concerns, such as the time it takes to set up the metal pieces and the fact that a person would have to go outside to lock the door and would be unable to come back inside.

            “I think the new Lock Bloks features are amazing in terms of campus safety,” Nadia Fox, French teacher and school safety advocate, said. “It’s definitely more reassuring as a teacher to have this safety measure for my students.”

  • BOUSD dedicate and rename Wildcat Stadium as Leonard MacKain Field

    4 years ago by

    BOUSD renamed Wildcat Stadium as Leonard MacKain Field on September 4, 2015.

    The Brea Olinda Unified School District dedicated the football/track field to Leonard MacKain on September 4, 2015.(courtesy of Susan Gaede)


        September 4 was a warm and fuzzy evening high in the hills of Brea as the Brea Olinda Unified School District christened its football field at BOHS Wildcat Stadium as the Leonard MacKain Field. Mac’s wife, Helen, and daughters Kristine and Karen, were there - proud as peacocks, but also with a touch of sadness.

          Shown at the celebration are MacKain’s daughters’ Karen MacKain, (left), wife Helen center. (courtesy of Susan Gaede)

          Shown at the celebration are MacKain’s daughters’ Karen (left) and Kristine, wife Helen center. (courtesy of Susan Gaede)

            The stands were filled with people and groups Mac worked with over the years. New Brea Olinda USD Superintendent Brad Mason asked each group to stand, until the entire stadium rose to offer an enthusiastic standing ovation.

              Gayle Chiotti, who lives on Poplar Avenue (the same street as the MacKains) said the night could have been a "Poplar Avenue event." Current or former Poplar Avenue neighbors in attendance included former BOUSD Superintendent of Schools “Skip” Roland, BOHS football coach Robb Perrance, Sonora High football coach Paul Chiotti, former BOHS All-CIF football quarterback Gary Holman and Brea Historical Society president John Bickel.

                MacKain (always called "Mac") served the BOUSD for nearly four decades as a principal and assistant superintendent, supervising the design and construction of Mariposa, Fanning and Country Hills elementary schools, playing a key role in the development of the new BOHS, and acting in retirement as a school board member.

                  Hats off to the Brea Olinda School board for honoring him in this way.

                    Any news? Give Susan Gaede a jingle at 714-529-8561 or e-mail her at

  • Back to fall; Brea Mighty Tykes Outdoor Soccer starts soon

    4 years ago by


      Tuesday, September 1, marks the first day of school for students at Brea Olinda Unified School District.

        For those of you with little ones, keep your kids fit and healthy in physical activities such as Mighty Tykes Outdoor Soccer - offered by the City of Brea this fall at the Brea Sports Park, from September 22 - October 29.

          It's a super soccer experience stressing the fundamentals, sportsmanship, player improvement and fun for boys and girls ages 3-7, you can register your children at the Brea Community Center in person or by phone at (714) 990-7100, and online at City of Brea. Major credit cards are accepted.
  • BOUSD Superintendent Skip Roland rides off to a new adventure

    5 years ago by


      Retiring BOUSD Superintendent Dr. Skip Roland and his wife Sharon were presented with beach cruisers to mark his 39 years as an educator.  (courtesy Katelyn Roland)

      Retiring BOUSD Superintendent Dr. Skip Roland and his wife Sharon were presented with beach cruisers to mark his 39 years as an educator.
      (courtesy Katelyn Roland)

        The 39-year education career of retiring Brea Olinda Unified School District Superintendent Skip Roland was celebrated recently at a dinner at Embassy Suites. Speakers included Tim Harvey, a lifelong friend and former Brea-Olinda Unified superintendent; Carol Chrisman, Brea Canyon High School principal; Denis Bilodeau from the office of Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson; Joe Bartell, Brea-Olinda Teachers Association president; Lisa Santos, Brea-Olinda Unified California School Employees Association president; Joe Rollino, school board member; Jerry Halpin, Brea Olinda High School principal; Ralph Jameson, lifelong friend and professional colleague.

          Anne Flesher, assistant superintendent of personnel and educational services, wrote and read a clever poem “Ode to Arthur Jerome, aka “Skip,” noting Skip was a kindergartener at Laurel School.

            What does Skip plan to do after leaving the district? He said he is going to continue teaching at Brandman University, continue his partnership with EdLeader 21, a national network of school and district leaders, and will study school systems in Sweden and Finland, golf and travel. He’ll be riding his gift of a new cruise beach bike with his wife, Sharon.

              Skip is truly tops and will be missed. He was a very popular superintendent.

                New superintendent Brad Mason begins July 1. We hear he is fabulous.

                  Any news give Susan Gaede a jingle at (714) 529-8561 or e-mail her at

  • Ryan and Ethan Gerdts carry on family wedding traditions

    5 years ago by

    Sunday, April 26, 2015, Ryan Rachelle Osborn whose family history in Brea go way back, married Ethan Alonso Gerdts of Asuza.

      Mr. & Mrs. Ethan and Ryan Gerdts (Photo courtesy of Judith Ledbetter Wedemeyer)

      Mr. & Mrs. Ethan and Ryan Gerdts (Photo courtesy of Judy Ledbetter Wedemeyer)

        Family tradition was carried on as Pastor Arty Van Geloof who married Ryan’s parents 25 years ago was chosen to preside over the ceremony. The couple tied the knot at Bernardo Winery founded in 1889 in Rancho Bernardo, San Diego. In addition Ryan and Ethan chose her parents Communion song.

          Ryan’s parents Galen and Heather Osborn on their wedding day with Pastor Arty Van Geloof. (Photo courtesy of Judy Ledbetter Wedemeyer)

          Ryan’s parents Galen and Heather Osborn on their wedding day with Pastor Arty Van Geloof, left. (Photo courtesy of Judy Ledbetter Wedemeyer)

            In the early days of Brea, Ryan’s great-great-grandfather Earl Harland Ledbetter worked in the oil fields and lived on the oil-lease properties in Olinda, now Carbon Canyon, with his wife, Bonnie, back in the heyday of Brea’s oil production in the 1920’s. Interesting to note that Bonnie’s maiden name was Neal. Decedents of the Neal's have been in Brea for decades.

              Ryan’s grandmother Judy Ledbetter Wedemeyer raised four children (three sons and a daughter in Brea,) all of whom went through the Brea Olinda Unified School District graduating at Brea Olinda High School. The Wedemeyer’s were one of five families to officially start the soccer team at BOHS.

                Left to right: Blake Wedemeyer BOHS '84, Aaron Wedemeyer '82, Heather (Wedemeyer) Osborn '88, Darin Wedemeyer '82 (Photo courtesy of Judy Ledbetter Wedemeyer)

                Left to right: Blake Wedemeyer BOHS '84, Aaron Wedemeyer '82, Heather (Wedemeyer) Osborn '88, Darin Wedemeyer '82 (Photo courtesy of Judy Ledbetter Wedemeyer)

                  The bride looked gorgeous and poised with an extensive beauty pageant background since 2007. She won the title of Miss Fullerton’s Outstanding Teen in 2009, Miss County of San Diego 2011, Miss Placentia in 2012, Miss Yorba Linda in 2014, and was in the top 10 at the Miss California State Competition. Throughout her pageantry history she won many scholarships from the Miss America Scholarship Organization enabling her to obtain a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology. She will continue her education attending University of La Verne to obtain her Master's Degree in Child Life Specialist. And her husband, Ethan, will continue to work as a Research Associate at City of Hope, deferring his acceptance to UCSD as a Medical Student, for one year.

                    Ethan's grandparent’s traveled from Peru to attend the wedding. And one good friend arrived from a business trip to China the day before the wedding. He said he traveled the farthest.