Community says goodbye to longtime board member Kerry Clegg

School District Board Member Kerry Clegg addresses the guests and dignitaries at his retirement party at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School Wednesday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal
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Prominent figures from each of the Santa Clarita Valley school districts gathered alongside members of the community at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School Wednesday to bid a farewell to longtime board member Kerry Clegg, who is retiring after 29 years of community service.

Prior to this week’s district meeting, Superintendent Catherine Kawaguchi joined parents, Clegg’s family and Sulphur Springs Union School District trustees to celebrate and reminisce on a few of Clegg’s many accomplishments.

School District Board Member Kerry Clegg opens a scrapbook at his retirement party at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School Wednesday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal

As a slideshow in the background detailed Clegg’s achievements and showed pictures from years past, Clegg’s peers stepped to the dais to share a kind word and present awards of recognition.

Judy Umeck has had the pleasure of knowing Kerry Clegg for decades, the Saugus Union School District trustee said from the dais Wednesday as she shared stories of Clegg during their children’s time together in AYSO soccer.

“Twenty-three years ago when I started on the Saugus board, Kerry was one of my mentors,” Umeck said, mentioning the “huge influence” Clegg had on many current board members. “I credit him with some of the things that Saugus has done, (but also) what Santa Clarita Valley trustees have done as a whole.”

After sharing stories of sushi, soccer and noteworthy discussions that have occurred throughout the years, Hart District board President Steve Sturgeon, who was encouraged by Clegg to become a trustee, said, “I appreciated all of your ideas. I appreciated all of your encouragement then, (and) I’ve missed you at the delegate assembly table ever since you left. Thank you for your 29 years.”

William S. Hart School Boad President Steve Sturgeon speaks to Sulpher Springs School District Board Member Kerry Clegg at his retirement party at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School Wednesday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Sue Solomon, a Newhall School District trustee, was also in attendance at the ceremony, where she mentioned that Clegg’s 29 years as a board member doesn’t include the countless hours he spent as a parent advocating for education.

“You are the face, heart and soul of the Sulphur Springs school district,” Solomon said as she thanked Clegg for the time, care and love that he offered to the children of the community and the Santa Clarita Valley as a whole. “So on behalf of the Newhall School District, we want to say thank you for your inspirational leadership and all that you have done for public education throughout California.”

By the end of the reception, Clegg would joke that he’d need another wall to hang the table full of plaques that lay beside him.

When the last of the recognitions were presented, Clegg’s grandchildren led the pledge of allegiance before trustees settled into their final board meeting with “Dr. Clegg” beside them.

The meeting began with the governing board members who were up for election last November taking their oaths of office. Ken Chase, who served as the district’s board president this last year, was the first to complete his oath, with Lori McDonald and Brenda Martinez, who will fill Clegg’s seat, concluding theirs soon afterward.

“Farewell Kerry,” trustee Denis DeFigueiredo said. “Welcome Brenda.”

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