Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Trustee Dr. Jack Garvin was recognized recently for ongoing work in the educational system and received the inaugural Retired Administrator of the Year Award.

Dr. Jack Garvin

Dr. Jack Garvin

The honor, which is the first of its kind in the state, was given by the Association of California School Administrators, an organization with more than 15,000 members, including about 3,000 who are retired but remain active.

The ACSA determined that Dr. Garvin has never really stopped dedicating his life to education.

Dr. Garvin, who was re-elected last month and sworn in last week, left his post as superintendent for the Orcutt Union School District about 15 years ago and was elected to the SMJUHSD board in 2004.

“I never expected something like this, but being an educator is all I ever wanted,’’ Dr. Garvin said. “Our children are our future leaders in this country and throughout the world.’‘

Dr. Garvin was nominated by former SMJUHSD Superintendent Doug Kimberly and Guadalupe Union High School District Superintendent Ed Cora.

For more than a decade, Dr. Garvin has used common sense and plain talk to make sure elected officials, staff and the public know the reality facing SMJUHSD and the Tri-County Education Coalition that also serves Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties and represents nearly 40 districts.

Dr. Garvin has organized group discussions on the importance of reducing classroom size, dwindling state and federal funding and the development of new schools to meet increasing demands. He’s also taken on housing and apartment developers to ensure schools receive their fair share of related building fees and mentored many future education leaders.

Last October at Santa Maria High School, Dr. Garvin presented the “Haunted School House of Budget Cut Horrors.” The event, which attracted Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, parents and others, featured a tour of dark and empty classrooms where there were no teachers, computers had no users, there were no books and the library was closed.

Dr. Garvin has also made sure everyone knows the facts about Proposition 30, a voter-passed initiative that temporarily keeps funding levels for several years.

“It stops the hemorrhaging for now,’’ said Dr. Garvin, who began his teaching career and dedication to education after World War II and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.

SMJUHSD Superintendent Dr. Mark Richardson believes the recognition is well deserved.

“We are lucky to have such a committed educator on our team,’’ Dr. Richardson said. “His knowledge about the educational system is invaluable.’‘

— Kenny Klein is the media contact for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.