A Principal’s Story

Juan Munoz is the principal at Wilkerson Elementary School in El Monte, Calif.

California's childhood obesity rate is over 30 percent and it's ranked as the 26th most obese state in the U.S. for children.

Juan and his team at Wilkerson Elementary have been determined to change those statistics and are leading the way with their district, their school, and their kids.

Juan brought the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program to his campus just three years ago in 2010. By 2011, Juan and his school had already received our Bronze National Recognition Award, in 2012 our Silver, and just this year, Wilkerson Elementary received our Gold National Recognition Award—the highest distinction in our Healthy Schools Program.

At our 2013 Forum...

Juan was asked to join President Bill Clinton, co-founder of the Alliance, on stage to share how his school has continued to build one of the healthiest campuses in California.

For Juan, the connection between healthy students and learning has become abundantly clear. Since joining the Healthy Schools Program in 2010, Wilkerson has witnessed a sea of change in student attendance and performance. Juan believes the healthier environment he and his staff have created is to thank.

Wilkerson Elementary has created this healthier environment by changing policies and practices to become a school that truly embraces nutrition and physical activity for students, staff, and families.

"The impact of participating in the Healthy Schools Program has been tremendous for our parents and students. Our academic growth directly coincides with achieving bronze, silver, and now gold status. Since creating a healthy environment in our school, our attendance rates have gone up and our Academic Performance Index has increased by almost 100 points- the highest in our school district."

- Principal Juan Munoz

Wilkerson’s healthy ways have even started to outgrow its campus. Families are now encouraged to reinforce the healthy messages at home. The school provides opportunities for this by hosting a farmers’ market after school where students select healthy produce to take home for their families. The school has even started hosting Walk to School Days and encourages families to walk with their kids to continue adding to each child’s daily amount of physical activity.

In all areas of the school, Wilkerson Elementary under the leadership of Juan Munoz, has reshaped the ways its students approach health and has increased the opportunities for its students and staff to eat better and move more.

Thank you Juan and Wilkerson Elementary for all the many ways you make health a priority for your kids.


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