As most educators can attest, dedication to the job doesn’t cease at the end of the day, at the end of the school year or at the end of the career. Devoting one’s life to the betterment of students often continues into the off hours and far into retirement.
Many educational leaders give back to their profession and the students it serves by volunteering with ACSA. One such leader is retired superintendent Jack Garvin, who has received ACSA’s inaugural Retired Administrator of the Year Award.
“I’ve done such a poor job of retiring, I was surprised to get an award for it,” Garvin joked.
Garvin is an experienced educational leader who continues to share his knowledge and expertise even though he’s been retired for nearly 15 years. Former superintendent of Orcutt Union School District, Garvin continues to work in the field in numerous positions within ACSA – all without earning a penny.
An ACSA member since 1970, Garvin is currently co-president of the Region 13 North Santa Barbara County Charter. He has also served as field services representative/region consultant, vice president of special events, mentor, and presenter at ACSA conferences.
Garvin admits retirement can be a culture shock to many people. One day, you’re working morning ’til night, interacting with dozens of people, constantly on the go, balancing numerous projects at once, and the next day, nothing. He likens it to driving 75 miles per hour on 1-5, then suddenly coming to a stop.
“Retirement is very individual. People approach it in different ways. This is one way to keep your mind sharp,” he said.
In addition to his volunteer work for ACSA, Garvin also serves as board president for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District and is active in the California School Boards Association and Parent-Teacher Association. In addition, he is president and co-founder of the Tri-County Education Coalition, an advocacy group serving San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
Garvin is committed to advocating on behalf of public education, and is actively engaged in communicating with state legislators and policymakers. He is a well-known representative of schools within the State Capitol, and several legislators know him personally and call him to consult on the impacts of new legislation.
Garvin is also involved in ACSA’s annual Legislative Action Day, and said not only is it an opportunity to keep lawmakers informed on what’s going on in the field, it is an opportunity to familiarize educational leaders with the political process.
“My favorite part about Legislation Action Day is bringing a group of people from my region, some of whom have never been to Sacramento, been in a legislative office or met a legislator,” he said, adding that in all his years with ACSA, he has missed Leg Action Day only once.
In his unpaid capacity with Region 13, Garvin spends much of his time recruiting potential members and singing the praises of the organization. He helped form a new charter, and was the driving force for a recent networking dinner for current and prospective members, which welcomed more than 45 administrators and guest speaker Jack O’Connell, former superintendent of public Instruction.
“Dr. Garvin is a faithful, devoted and loyal representative of ACSA,” wrote Doug Kimberly, superintendent of Santa Maria Joint Union High School District. “He has continually promoted and supported the organization which empowers others through the resources offered to its members. … Dr. Garvin’s core belief that quality administrators make a difference for teaching and learning has driven him to tirelessly volunteer and serve administrators in multiple ACSA regions.”
Another issue that Garvin has taken to heart is building and sustaining the next generation of educational leaders. Even in retirement, he has taken an active role in providing mentoring for new administrators and those transitioning into new roles. He has assisted assistant principals, principals, district office administrators and superintendents. He said sharing his expertise and being able to assist new school leaders in solving problems – or just being a sympathetic ear when they need to vent – is very rewarding.
“It’s very flattering that someone recognizes you still have knowledge and can be of value,” he said. “I’m a big proponent of growing your own. I think district leaders need to look at the people within their own districts who have leadership talent.”
One educational leader who Garvin nurtured throughout his career is Ed Cora, superintendent of the Guadalupe Union School District. Cora said Garvin has supported him for more than 25 years, providing wise perspectives and sound advice.
“It is important for me to share my story, because I owe Dr. Garvin a great deal for grooming, coaching and supporting me throughout my administrative career. He has been by my side every step of the way and has truly been my number one mentor,” Cora said. “I will be forever grateful to Dr. Garvin for everything he has done to support my career.”
Garvin’s retirement hasn’t been all work and no play. On top of his myriad work with ACSA and other educational groups, he’s managed to find time for nearly two dozen cruises, more than 10 trips to Hawaii and even “a little golf.”
Garvin reiterated the importance of keeping your mind active in the golden years, and said when things get tough, “never underestimate the power of an afternoon nap.”
Garvin will be formally honored, during ACSA’s Leadership Summit, Nov. 8-10 in San Diego. To register, visit www.acsa.org/leadershipsummit.
With the Tri-County Education Coalition, Jack Garvin has been instrumental in developing a grassroots site visitation protocol for legislators to share the impact of budget cuts on local schools. Based on ACSA’s Project Leadership, the protocol guides districts in inviting legislators to their school sites, obtaining media coverage, and garnering community involvement. Included are sample schedule formats, program topics and even creative ways to show how a lack of funding devastates schools and communities.
In fact, Garvin has organized an upcoming event based on the protocol that brings to light the gravity of the current budget situation. The “Haunted School House of Budget Cut Horrors,” to be held in October at Santa Maria High School, will take parents on a tour of darkened, empty classrooms, closed libraries and abandoned computers, all due to budget cuts. The event will also focus on the impact furloughs have on the community: unsupervised students, increased child care costs for parents and high school seniors losing credits they need to graduate. Also featured will be a sidewalk demonstration in support of passing Proposition 30.
For a copy of the Site Visitation Protocol contact Garvin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 922-2585.