The second school board meeting of October 2021 took place at 7 pm sharp on October 18. With no action taken in the closed session, the meeting started off with School Board President, Ryan Segoviano asking the board for opinions on the search for a new Superintendent.

“As everyone is aware, we will be hiring a new Superintendent for the 2022-203 school year, due to the retirement of Dr. Alfano,” said Segoviano. “Earlier this evening we heard proposals from two consulting firms interested in assisting the board in the recruitment of our next Superintendent. Do any members of the board currently have any comments or recommendations at this time?”

Board member Michele Bays stated her preference to move forward with a consulting firm that has closer ties to the Central Valley and is more familiar with the Patterson Joint Unified School District.

“I enjoyed listening to both groups present,” said Bays. “I think they both had a lot of positive attributes and would work well with the district, but with the Leadership Associates there was more local knowledge, they were closer and have more familiarity with our district so I would propose to put them forward.”

The Board voted to proceed with the firm and passed by 6 votes, with one vote against it.

With no public comments or presentations by employee organizations, student organizations or community members, the meeting was able to move on to the recognition of Del Puerto High School, which was awarded the 2021 Model Continuation High School Award by the California Department of Education.

“It brings great pleasure to officially congratulate the Del Puerto High School community as being recognized as one of the handful of model continuation high schools in the state of California,” said Superintendent, Dr. Phil Alfano. “Locally, we are all aware of the work that Del Puerto has been doing continuously these past few years...the efforts and dedication of the students, staff and community [has been unparalleled]. Congratulations again to the Del Puerto High School community.”

The award was handed to Del Puerto High School Principal, Jose Sachez. Certificates were given to Del Puerto staff: Renee Bergendahl, Marcos Huerta, Catherine Manning, Jayme Gray, Lisa Jimenez and Principal Jose Sanchez to a round of applause from the board and attendees.

“On behalf of all of us in the district, it truly has been a pleasure,” said Alfano. “In the time that I’ve been in Patterson I’ve seen Del Puerto go from a school where kids used to say, ‘I have to go to Del Puerto, I don’t want to, I have to, they’re making me.’ Now students want to attend voluntarily. That’s huge for a continuation high school so you’ve done a great job in meeting the needs of individual students who don’t always fit in in a comprehensive high school so thank you very much.”

Del Puerto High School Assistant Principal Marcos Heurta was recognized as the California Continuation Education Association’s Counselor Support Person of the Year. Dr. Alfano praised Huerta’s dedication to his students and community before presenting him with the award.

“Many staff members go above and beyond for their students and staff,” said Alfano. “However, Mr. Huerta’;s dedication to his students have made a positive impact on the community. This year he has adjusted to his new role very well overseeing Adult Education and this has allowed Huerta to encourage our continuing students to attend our adult education program...Students have graduated from our school at Del Puerto and then enrolled in our Certified Nurses Assistant Program. Other programs students have enrolled in include Truck Driving and Coding courses. While dealing with difficult situations Mr. Huerta always remains calm and focused on the students’ best interest. Many students and parents request to speak with him due to his ability to offer support services and most importantly, calm demeanor.”

Alfano spoke of a time during one of Huerta’s financial aid events in which a student credited Huerta for the reason they are attending college.

“We consider this a high recommendation and he has definitely demonstrated that he is focused on putting students first...Congratulations, Marcos.”

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