The SCV Education Foundation Hall of Fame looks to honors those who have demonstrated measurable influence and made significant contributions to the growth and development of education in the Santa Clarita Valley. The “hall” provides us an opportunity for special recognition of those who have led our community’s focus on educational excellence. Congratulations to these deserving inductees:
Dr. Marc Winger (2019)
Marc Winger served as an elementary school teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent in Newhall, Burbank, and Sulphur Springs school districts. He was appointed superintendent of the Newhall School District in July 1997 and he retired in 2015, after 18 years as superintendent. Winger received his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles. He was co-founder of the SCV Education Foundation’s Principal for a Day event which was first held in 1992.
Clyde Smyth (2019)
Clyde Smyth served in the army during the Korean Conflict, received a doctorate in Education from BYU, and worked in the Pasadena School district in the ’50s and ’60s, before becoming principal of Placerita Junior High in 1969. In 1974, he took the helm as Superintendent of the Hart School District, a position he held for 18 years
Donna Avila (2018)
Donna Avila joined the SCV Education Foundation in 2007. As a board member, Donna fostered a partnership between the City of Santa Clarita and the Foundation. She tirelessly worked behind the scenes to lay the groundwork for programs and events such as the Literacy and Arts Festival, which began in Newhall Park with a small group of participants and has now flourished into a huge annual event. Donna was always ready to volunteer her time and creativity in shaping and developing the arts and education community into a prosperous environment for children and youth. Within the SCV Education Foundation, Donna took an active role in planning events such as Teacher Tribute, Principal for a Day, Read With Me, and Bag of Books. We commemorate her dedication and active support for the SCV Education Foundation and the City of Santa Clarita's education community by honoring her as an inductee to the Santa Clarita Education Foundation Hall of Fame. Donna has relocated with her family to Lubbock, Texas and her presence and work ethic is missed by all.
Tom Lee (2018)
Tom Lee built Valencia, not only literally as a leader of Newhall Land but also as a community, making sure to develop the social infrastructure of Santa Clarita as we know it today. He greatly believes that every executive must contribute and be deeply involved with the community. As a result, there is not a charitable organization in this valley that Tom Lee has not touched. Tom's leadership in starting the Education Committee in 1984 at the SCV Chamber of Commerce was critical in laying the groundwork for teamwork between the five school district Superintendents. His ability to recruit people towards a cause and engage the community--with his Midwestern humor and common sense--were critical to the credibility of this new effort to serve the public education efforts for the Santa Clarita Valley community. After 34 years, we now have an independent non-profit Foundation to carry on these efforts into the future through SCVEF. We honor his legacy and continued involvement by inducting him to the Santa Clarita Education Foundation Hall of Fame.
Jim Backer (2017)
Jim has worked in commercial/industrial real estate since 1984 and continues to develop Santa Clarita Valley into a prosperous and engaging community. Prior to launching JSB Development in 2000, Jim was an executive with Newhall Land, a premier community planner in North Los Angeles County. Jim is the co-founder and founding President of the SCV Education Foundation and remains an active Board member as President. His legacy includes Education Foundation programs and events such as Principal for a Day, the Backer Scholarship Program, Bag of Books, Read With Me, and Teacher Innovation Grants. We honor his continued dedication to supporting and enriching the education community in Santa Clarita Valley by introducing him as our very first inductee to the Santa Clarita Valley Education Foundation Hall of Fame.