PHHS names new coaches

By Elizabeth Gillingham | News from Patrick Henry High School

Varsity baseball coach

Sheldon Watkins has been named the new head baseball coach at Patrick Henry High School. He is excited to be returning to his alma mater where he graduated in 2000.

Coach Sheldon Watkins (Courtesy PHHS)

Coach Watkins graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University in 2005 and began his coaching career at Mira Mesa High School where he served as the associate head coach for five seasons and won three Eastern League Championships. In between his time at Mira Mesa, Coach Watkins was the hitting coach at Indiana University from 2007-2008 in the Big Ten Conference. Coach Watkins heavily recruited the state of California and oversaw an offense that led the Big Ten in hitting.

After moving back to San Diego, Coach Watkins finished his teaching credential and was named the head coach at Castle Park High School in 2011. Following the 2011 season, Coach Watkins was named the head coach at Rancho Buena Vista High School (2012–2015) where he was also a physical education teacher. In Watkins’ first year there, he led the Longhorns to a 27-9 record and the Division I Championship where they lost 1-0 to the eventual state champion, Vista High School.

In his second year, he led the Longhorns to the semi-finals of the Open Division. During his time at Rancho Buena Vista alone, seven players went on to play baseball at Division I colleges, and five at the Division II level. Throughout his 11 years of coaching at the high school level, Coach Watkins has had three players drafted in the Major League Baseball Draft and has sent over 20 players to the collegiate level.

Coach Watkins lives in the community of San Carlos with his wife Chelsey, also a PHHS class of 2000 graduate, and daughter Kennedy. PHHS is thrilled to have him return and selected him over several other highly qualified applicants.

One recommendation from his coaching days in San Diego included this statement: “He is very passionate, organized, a good leader, and an incredible coach.” And another recommendation from the college level included this comment: “I wanted to recommend Sheldon Watkins for your open Head Baseball Coach position. I spent a lot of my life and young career [in], and have a great feel for, the High School baseball landscape in San Diego. Sheldon would do a great job on the field, but more importantly will do a great job holding your young student-athletes to a high standard and expectation of being great people and help your program represent you the way you would want it to.”


… and new varsity volleyball coach

Alyssa Hernandez is PHHS’s women’s volley coach for the 2017-18 school year. Hernandez was born and raised in Gilbert, Arizona, and first became a California resident while attending Point Loma Nazarene University. She started all four seasons with Point Loma as a middle blocker. She graduated with multiple awards including National Champion, All-Tournament player at nationals and All-American, among other honors.

Hernandez has been coaching for a total of 10 years at multiple levels. Before her transition to California, she worked with coaches at Arizona Storm Volleyball Club for four years. Most recently, she was the head coach of the JV team at Point Loma High School. She is an elite coach for Coast Volleyball Club, as well as Point Loma’s local club Sunset Volleyball Club.
Coach Hernandez has an immense passion for the sport of volleyball and a strong competitive drive. She has spent many years working with young women to help teach them to find their own passion for volleyball. Her main goal is to develop the next generation of volleyball players, as both athletes and people.

“Volleyball won’t last forever but the skills of communication, discipline, teamwork, leadership, focus, mental toughness and so many more, will continue with each athlete as they go through life’s journey,” she said.

PHHS is fortunate to have added such great athletes and coaches to add to their already outstanding coaching staff.


PHHS construction

It’s hard not to notice the two-story building beginning to take shape at Patrick Henry High School. This building will be a state-of-the-art green building designed to be energy efficient and create a learning space that will be conducive to outstanding teaching and learning environments.

An artist rendering of the new facelift of the front office. (Courtesy PHHS)

It will house the ROP Child Development lab, the math department, and the world language department, replacing all the old bungalows near the gym for much-needed parking.

Having an International Hallway on the bottom floor will be a wonderful way to convey the importance of culture and architecture that comes with teaching another language. On the second floor, the world of math (also thought of as another language all on its own with symbols and notations unique to communication between mathematicians) will be situated so that teachers can plan together and students can have access to several math teachers if they need help. The classrooms will include i21 technology and in some cases be able to divide rooms into larger lecture halls for special events by removing a retractable wall. This building is due to be completed in March of 2018.

In addition to this project, the engineering classrooms in the 500 building are being remodeled and re-configured for greater planning purposes and proximity for teachers to collaborate. The classrooms will receive new equipment to facilitate engineering projects and another 3-D printer.

The new building on campus will house the math and world language departments and a child development lab. (Courtesy PHHS)

The front office is getting a much-needed face-lift to help the entrance match the construction of the new theater and two-story building. The old statue was removed and will be preserved for pep rallies while a new Patrick Henry image will be displayed both on the entrance and in the planter next to the main office. We are also carving out the main office to provide for a faculty lounge — a place for staff to meet and plan lessons together. This work will be completed by the opening of school.

Phase 3 began last month and will be completed by July of 2018. This phase includes updating our fields of play. The stadium is being completely remodeled to bring us up to ADA codes and update the scoreboard and press box. New restrooms, an elevator, new ADA seating on the top and bottom portions of the field, new snack bar, video scoreboard, and restrooms are all part of this renovation project. The track is also getting new pits for the track team to compete with in the spring.

Enhancing the baseball and softball fields with new dugouts, snack bar, bathrooms, drinking fountains, and video score boards is underway as well. ADA parking will also be included to help families who have limited mobility participate as fans and players.

We’ll also be getting two new sand volleyball courts with the hope of eventually adding that as another sport offering at PHHS in the spring.

And finally, PHHS is in the process of looking for major donors to help name the newly-upgraded fields. If you know someone who is interested in this unique one-time opportunity, please contact Principal Listy Gillingham at


American Legion’s Boys Nation

Patrick Henry High School senior Benjamin Kelly has been selected to participate as a senator in The American Legion’s Boys Nation program, taking place July 21–28 in the Washington, D.C. area.

Boys Nation is an annual program that includes civic training, leadership development and a focus on Americanism. Two representatives from each of the 49 Boys States represent their state at Boys Nation in Washington, where the young leaders receive an education on the structure and function of federal government.

At the event, each deleg ate acts as a senator from his Boys State. The young lawmakers caucus at the beginning of the session, then organize into committees and conduct hearings on bills submitted by program delegates.

Senators learn the proper method of handling bills, according to U.S. Senate rules. Participation in the political process is emphasized throughout the week, including organization of party conventions and nominating and electing a president and vice president.
Kelly, 17, is a Boys State alumnus who was elected Supreme Court justice.

Although he has not yet decided on where to attend college, he is considering a career in law. He has participated in Mock Trial and Academic League at Henry as well being a Link Crew leader for 2017-18 school year.

—Elizabeth Gillingham is principal of Patrick Henry High School.

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