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Jerry Fenton retires after teaching 41 years


June 11, 2014
After dedicating 41 years to teaching and coaching, Valley Center High School football coach Jerry Fenton will retire at the end of the school year.

Coach Fenton is one of the original 12 teachers who began teaching at Valley Center High in 1998. Through the years, several of the teachers he worked with were his former students.

Fenton started on the defensive and offensive lines on Orange Glen's football team, then won the CIF championship. He graduated from Orange Glen in 1968. After graduating from Whittier College, he was hired as a teacher and coach for Orange Glen.

Susie Knoll, a math teacher at Valley Center High School, worked with Fenton for eight years.

"Kids love him. Teachers love him," Knoll said. "You can go to him about anything and it will be held in confidence. He is an honorable man."

Fenton was also the union president for the district.

"He provided the kind of leadership that both sides of the aisle approve," Knoll said. "He is a great communicator. Representing teachers, he also is a businessman who is able to look at both sides. He practiced great leadership during a time of economic crisis and budget cuts."

In addition to teaching and coaching football, Fenton coached track for 41 years and cross-country for 13 years. He was an athletic director for six years at Orange Glen and Valley Center.

During the last freshman football game at Orange Glen High School, Fenton was awarded with a plaque recognizing his devoted services to both communities of Orange Glen and Valley Center. To honor Fenton, nearly 30 attended the ceremony including coaches, teachers, administrators, family, and friends.

The principals of both schools spoke about Fenton's achievements and the influence he had on so many students he taught and mentored.

"He is probably the most positive guy I've ever worked with," said VCHS Principal Ron McCowan. "He will find the good in every student and he's truly a servant teacher."

After accepting the plaque, Coach Fenton shook every hand of his freshman football team and thanked every VCHS staff member gathered for the ceremony.

Last month, a retirement party at the VCHS gym honored Fenton for his contributions as an educator and coach. The community and former students were invited to attend the event. A $250 donation was collected to begin construction of a spectator bench with a plaque to honor Coach Fenton. The bench was designed by VCHS students.

McCowan addressed his peer Fenton with the following remarks:

"Coach, you are a great teacher/mentor for your students, but your greatest contribution to education is the mentoring you have provided to us, your fellow educators. Because of you, we are a better profession."

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