Superintendent Scott Cory of the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District

Superintendent Scott Cory of the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District has resigned, effective June 30, after accepting another job. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The superintendent of the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District has resigned after accepting another job.

Superintendent Scott Cory’s resignation will take effect June 30 after eight years on the job. He replaced Paul Turnbull, who took a job in Hawaii.

Cory said he has accepted a new job, but did not identify the position or school district beyond saying he won’t be superintendent.

The district has thrived under Cory’s leadership, according to Jan Clevenger, president of the district’s board.

“His tenacity, vision and passion have led to the completion of several key instructional, operational and facility projects during his eight years with the district,” Clevenger said. “His ability to build healthy and productive relationships with the board, his staff, the students and the community speaks volumes. He will be missed but we wish him well on his next journey.”

Cory’s return to lead the district was poignant since he graduated from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School with the class of 1983.

“That was a pretty significant moment for me career-wise, to come to a community that was so very good to me growing up and my family,” he said. “To come back and have some say, and be at the helm of a district and a place that I care about so much, that was an honor.”

He announced his pending departure to the school and broader community on Monday. 

“I would also like to thank the staff for the tremendous amount of hard work that they put forth daily to create such an outstanding school district for our students,” he said in a letter to the community. “Thanks also to our parent community, and our Valley community in general, for their unfailing support of our schools. 

“This last year in particular has found us on a journey we never could have imagined, but we have persevered. What’s more, we’ll be better for it on the other side. There are many reasons to be hopeful for our students’ future,” he added.

After COVID-19 shuttered campuses for months, the district boasts being the only public high school to be open in Santa Barbara County with some in-person lessons in place since the fall.

“Of all the times to lead, that was the most significant challenge in our history,” Cory said.

He praised teaching staff for simultaneously handling both in-person and remote learning.

“It’s forced everybody to find another gear that we all didn’t think we had. They rose to the occasion and just did stellar things for our students,” Cory said.  

As he reflected on his time at the district, Cory said, “the fiscal health of our district is in its best shape in more than a decade.”

In recent years, both Santa Ynez High School, with 850 students, and Refugio High, an enrollment of less than 20, have gained new leaders. 

And the district now provides on-campus mental health services for all students, Cory said.

Under his leadership, Santa Ynez Valley voters approved the $14.7-million Measure K in 2016, the first district bond measure the district’s voters passed in a generation. The bond measure funding has been leveraged to bring an additional $12.3 million for campus improvements, he added.

A new project is already underway for a December 2021 construction start that will provide a state-of-the-art, culinary arts experience for students. 

While Cory has strong support from some factions, he came under fire in recent months after revelations that assorted legal claims had led to the board approving settlements for a few former employees totaling $250,000.

Before taking the position at the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District, Cory spent 14 years as principal at two schools in the Plumas Unified School District, and eight years in the Clovis Unified School District as a teacher and vice principal. 

He also taught two years at a school in the Beardsley School District in Bakersfield.

Cory earned his bachelor’s degree from California State University, Chico and master’s degree from CSU, Fresno. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Janene Scully | Noozhawk North County Editor

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at