Walnut Valley Unified School District administrators, staff members, local officials and friends gathered to honor retiring Superintendent Dr. Dean Conklin on May 20.
“Dean has really contributed a lot. He changed my life and the lives of so many students. And that’s his legacy – he’s always put students first and that’s Walnut Valley,” said retired Assistant Superintendent of Education Services Dr. Nancy Hogg.
“Dean you will enjoy it,” said retired Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Ray McMullen.
“Walnut is a special place and Dean is just one in a line of a succession of very fine superintendents. I’ve been pleased to have known and worked with all of them,” he said.
During a reception held in the District Education Center Board Room he also received certificates of recognition and gifts from local officials.
Diamond Bar City Council Mayor Pro Tem Ron Everett and City Manager Jim DeStefano presented Dr. Conklin with an engraved City tile.
“It’s rare to have cities and schools work together so well,” Everett said.
“Walnut Valley is a great place because of the people. In this case, we’ve had a great relationship working with Dr. Conklin,” Everett said.
City of Walnut Mayor Pro Tem Tony Cartagena, with Council Members Mary Su and Nancy Tragarz presented a certificate of special recognition and a gift.
“We are very proud of your accomplishment and wish you the best for an enjoyable and rewarding retirement,” Cartagena said. The Walnut Council Members also presented a certificate on behalf of Congressman Ed Royce.
Mary Su recalled that she was a parent she got to know Dr. Conklin.
“He’s an outstanding educator, a good leader and one of the reasons why Walnut Valley Unified School District is one of the best in California,” Su said.
She also presented Conklin and his wife Babs with two tickets to a Dodger game.
“I had the opportunity to work together with you in Coordinating Council. We’re really going to miss you and wish you all the best,” said Tragarz.
Senior Field Representative Jody Roberto presented a certificate of special recognition on behalf of Senator Bob Huff. She also announced that an official Senate Resolution, co-authored by Assemblyman Curt Hagman, has been ordered for Dr. Conklin.
“It is a sad day because you are so loved in this District. You are a part of the Walnut Valley Unified family,” she said.
Board President Helen Hall presented Dr. Conklin with an engraved plaque on behalf of the Board of Trustees.
“Thank you Dean for 15 years of exemplary service to the District. When you came back, you made a lot of positive changes and we’re thankful for that. It’s always sad to see people go and we wish you well,” Hall said.
“I sincerely want to thank all of you for being here today,” said Superintendent Dr. Dean Conklin
“As I look around this room it has been such an honor to work with all of you. It’s a remarkable blessing to be able come to work and not consider it work – and that’s what it’s felt like,” he said.
Conklin, standing with his wife Babs, said in 1994 he was drawn to come work in Walnut Valley because of its commitment to the way kids are treated.
“This is a special place – it’s a remarkable, wonderful school district. Not only do we focus on high test scores, we make sure our kids have a well-balanced educational experience and get what they need. That’s our commitment in Walnut,” he said.