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Wednesday, February 20 , 2019, 10:42 pm | Overcast 49º


Longtime Educator Jack Garvin, 81, Starts 4th Term on Santa Maria High School Board

Octogenarian, who continues to serve students after 40-plus years, is among several board members to take oaths of office in North County

Santa Barbara County Schools Superintendent Bill Cirone swears in Santa Maria Joint Union HIgh School District board members Amy Lopez and Jack Garvin on Tuesday. For the 81-year-old Garvin, it will be his fourth term on the board. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara County Schools Superintendent Bill Cirone swears in Santa Maria Joint Union HIgh School District board members Amy Lopez and Jack Garvin on Tuesday. For the 81-year-old Garvin, it will be his fourth term on the board. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Among the many school board members who took the oath of office in the Santa Maria Valley recently one stands out for his deep roots in local education.

Jack Garvin, 81, began his fourth term on the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Board of Education.

A retired educator with more than four decades of experience, Garvin was sworn in along with board member Amy Lopez by Santa Barbara County Schools Superintendent Bill Cirone on Tuesday night.

Democracy comes with responsibilities as well as rights, Cirone said before the swearing-in ceremony.

“The only responsibility as important as voting is that of serving,” he said.

Admittedly biased, Cirone said serving the next generation of leaders — today’s youth — through public education is the highest calling.

“I salute you both for taking on this important responsibility, and I congratulate you and your colleagues for the heard work, for the preparation, for the occasional frustration and the frequent joy of helping guide a school district,” he said.

The next night, Cirone swore in Lisa Morinini and Liz Phillips as Orcutt Union School District board members.

Four members — Linda Cordero, Vedamarie Alvarez Flores, John Hollinshead and JoAnn Oliver, also took the oath for the Santa Maria-Bonita School District Board of Education on Wednesday.

But none has the breadth of experience of Garvin, who began teaching in 1957 in the Bay Area and rose thorough the ranks at various districts before spending 19 years as Orcutt schools superintendent until retiring in 1997.

He stayed active in Central Coast education, working consulting gigs with assorted districts in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. He also led the citizens’ committee that crafted the Orcutt Community Plan.

In his bid for his fourth term, Garvin placed first among a field of four candidates — two of whom were supported by the Faculty Association — garnering 17,793 votes.

“I think what it tells me is there’s a loud statement from the community of confidence, in the district, I think somewhat directed in my direction, but I think it’s where the district is going,” Garvin said, noting the acquisition of a fourth high school site.

“I’m just really excited about the next four years.”

Garvin grew up in Washington, and migrated south after college in search of sunny weather and a teaching job.

He later earned his doctorate degree from Brigham Young University, and is considered by some educators to be a mentor.

“That’s what happens when you get old,” Garvin said with a laugh.

Joe Dana, director of charter programs for OUSD and principal of Olga Reed Elementary School, was hired into the Orcutt district while Garvin was superintendent.

“During my time as a classroom teacher, Jack saw potential in me that I didn’t necessarily see in myself,” he said. “His encouragement was one of the main reasons why I decided to get into school administration.

“Jack has been one of the great figures in public education in northern Santa Barbara County,” Dana added.

Under Garvin’s leadership, the district made advances in after-school child care, educational technology, inclusion programming for special education students, class size reduction and much more, Dana said.

“No doubt about it, he made a lasting imprint on Orcutt schools,” he said.

High school district Superintendent Mark Richardson said Garvin’s dedication to public service is unmatched.

“I can’t imagine myself doing the things that he’s doing at the age he’s doing them,” he said. “For me, he brings a wealth of information, institutional knowledge and just an overall understanding of the educational process for kids that I thinks invaluable.

“He’s just a good guy. At the end of the day, for him it’s all about doing what’s right for kids. That’s his priority.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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