Pasadena Major Terry Tornek Attends Hillsides Education Center Anniversary Celebration
Left to right:  Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek, Hillsides Education Center principal Lupe Gonzalez, and Joseph M. Costa, Hillsides president and CEO.

LOS ANGELES, October 26, 2017 – Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek was one of several local dignitaries to attend the 35th Anniversary and Open House of Hillsides Education Center (HEC) held on October 18 in Pasadena.

Mayor Tornek presented the school with a city commendation and spoke about the positive change it has made in the community.   “I want to thank Hillsides for serving such a vulnerable population and one the city is not equipped to handle,” he said.  “The services it provides are invaluable.”

Also attending the event and presenting HEC with commendations were Dominick Correy, a representative for Senator Anthony Portantino; Hector Rodriquez, a field representative for Assembly member Chris Holden; and Christian Daly, field deputy for Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger.  

During the program, Hillsides President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph M. Costa praised the school for tending to not only the students’ academic needs but their emotional and social ones.  “What distinguishes our school is the overlay of clinical services geared to help students become multi-dimensional young people who will succeed in life as well as school,” he said.

The day was also a chance for HEC Principal Lupe Gonzalez to recognize two teachers, both of whom have been at the school for the entire 35 years, Debi Szilagi-Johnson and Kurtis Ranslem.  A parent of the school, Mishel Bowers, also spoke, detailing the emotional journey of her son through the school system until he came to HEC and began to flourish.  The program concluded with musical performances of three HEC students.

HEC, located at 940 Avenue 64 in Pasadena, is one of Hillsides five core programs.  HEC is a therapeutic residential and day non-public school that offers individualized education for students experiencing social-emotional, learning, and/or behavior challenges.   The school contracts with more than 20 different school districts in Southern California. For more information, please visit

About Hillsides

Hillsides is dedicated to healing children and young adults, strengthening families, and transforming communities through quality comprehensive services and advocacy.  Headquartered in Los Angeles, the agency serves more than 14,000 children and families in Southern California throughout more than 40 sites, including school-based mental health offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Baldwin Park. Foster care and adoption services are offered in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties. To learn more about Hillsides, please visit Visit Hillsides on Facebook @hillsideschildren, on Twitter @Hillsides, or on Instagram @HillsidesPasadena.



Alison Bell



Family Resource Centers offer numerous community-based programs and services that provide parenting classes, mental health support, and additional crucial resources for vulnerable children and families throughout Los Angeles County, including the San Gabriel Valley and Pasadena. >
Residential Treatment Services provide a safe and stable environment where children and youths, who cannot live at home, suffered trauma, or have severe emotional or behavioral challenges, can thrive. >
Education Center, a therapeutic residential and day school, offers individualized education for students with social-emotional, learning and/or behavior challenges for children in kindergarten through 12th grade. >
Youth Moving On, with support from The Everychild Foundation, provides former foster youth affordable quality housing and numerous support services to help them become responsible, self-sufficient adults. >

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