Our View | Endorsements: COC, Hart District

Our View

By The Signal Editorial Board

One in a continuing series of editorial endorsements for the November 2020 election:

Among the many choices local voters will make on the Nov. 3 ballot will be a variety of seats on local school and college boards of trustees — positions that wield a great degree of influence on one of the crown jewels of the Santa Clarita Valley, our local education system. 

The SCV is known for its excellent schools, from kindergarten through college, and that’s no accident: We have a community that cares a great deal about quality education, and that’s generally reflected in the choices local voters make for our school boards.

Today, we offer endorsements for two important governing boards: That of the William S. Hart Union High School District and the Santa Clarita Community College District, aka College of the Canyons.

Hart District, Seat No. 4

Steve Sturgeon

Steve Sturgeon is an entrepreneur whose business acumen has served the district well during his 21 years of service on the board. We are recommending him for a new four-year term.

The 2013 Santa Clarita Valley Man of the Year continues to serve his community well, both as a board member who brings common-sense decision-making to the district, and as a member of the community whose philanthropy has benefited multiple local organizations. 

Hart District, Seat No. 1

Linda Storli Koontz

The current president of the Hart district board, Storli has spent decades serving the students of the Santa Clarita Valley. Just as Sturgeon brings a valued business perspective to the board, Storli brings another valuable perspective: That of an educator.

Storli was a government and history teacher at Canyon High School for 30 years before being elected to the school board five years ago. And her role as a community leader extends back to the formation of the city of Santa Clarita, when she was a member of the city formation committee. She subsequently served as a city parks commissioner and as chair of the Santa Clarita Fourth of July Parade committee.

Together with the rest of the board, Storli and Sturgeon have led the Hart district through some major milestones, including the successful opening of the new Castaic High School.

COC, Seat No. 4

Michele Jenkins

Michele Jenkins has had a connection to COC since the very beginning: She was a member of the community college’s first graduating class.

She’s been giving back ever since, and has served on the board for more than 30 years, helping guide COC through its amazing periods of growth, including the establishment of its second campus, in Canyon Country.

Jenkins, also a recipient of COC’s Distinguished Alumni award, manages her husband’s three-physician family medical practice while working tirelessly to secure local, state and federal funding to help COC continue expanding its offerings to meet the growing educational needs of the college’s students. 

Jenkins’ experience and continued passion for service will help COC continue its place among the best community colleges in not just the state, but the nation.

COC, Seat No. 3

Fred Arnold

For COC’s Area 3, we are advocating the election of a new board member for the college: longtime local business and community leader Fred Arnold.

Arnold’s philanthropic involvement has benefited multiple organizations including the Child and Family Center and the COC Foundation, experience that will give him a jump start as a new member of the board of trustees.

He’s also a past chairman of the SCV Chamber of Commerce and past president of the California Association of Mortgage Brokers. 

COC, Seat No. 2

Tony Watson

For seat No. 2, we recommend another new board member for COC: Tony Watson, a graduate of Saugus High School, COC and The Master’s College who’s also a past winner of COC’s Distinguished Alumni award.

He works as vice president of business improvement for United Site Services, and has broad experience in local organizations, having served on the boards of the SCV Boys and Girls Club, Child and Family Center, and William S. Hart Baseball and Softball. His business experience and record of community service will serve COC and its students well.

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