iLEAD School to present Weste ‘Vision in Education’ award

City Councilwoman Laurene Weste smiles during a council meeting. Katharine Lotze/Signal

Recognized for her leadership and efforts in shaping the Santa Clarita Valley as a better place to live, iLEAD Schools and its founding institution SCVi will honor City Councilwoman Laurene Weste at its upcoming annual benefit dinner.

On March 9, Weste is to be presented with the “Vision in Education” award, which “recognizes a community leader who has made significant contributions to public education” and “has demonstrated extraordinary vision and dedication in supporting and expanding educational opportunities,” according to iLEAD Schools, a network of free, public charter schools in California, Hawaii and the Midwest.

Kenchy Ragsdale, president of the Scarlet Foundation, who is set to host the event, said of Weste in a statement: “Her extraordinary career is rife with examples of how leadership and hard work can change the world around us, and makes her a natural fit for our Vision in Education award.”

Besides creating new educational programs and generally supporting education, recipients of the award also “(give) selflessly to the community by championing issues” — something Weste has proven to offer throughout her time as a Santa Clarita leader, the statement said. .

The six-term councilwoman started with the City Council in 1998 and most recently served as mayor in 2018. Weste is well known for her efforts in expanding and preserving thousands of acres of open space and the construction of a cross-valley trail system. Before she was elected to the City Council she served on the city’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission.

Weste’s experience with environmental issues includes her efforts to help ensure preservation of the historic 800-acre Mentryville, California’s first oil town, during her time with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Board. She has also worked toward ensuring programs for the SCV’s aging community as a director of the SCV Committee on Aging.

Weste has shared her desire to make the area a place for residents to live, work and play. Additional open space, roads, sports fields and the continued revitalization of Old Town Newhall are among her continued efforts, according to iLEAD.

At the benefit dinner, SCVi will also honor Deja Munn and June Enich with its Founder’s Vision award. Parent Kelly Mehr and her family will receive the Founder’s Family Vision award.

The event is scheduled 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Valencia, 24500 Town Center Drive. For more information about the benefit dinner, contact Kenchy Ragsdale at 323-253-6249 or visit

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