After spending the past 39 years in education, former Fountain Valley School District Supt. Ruben L. Ingram didn't want anyone to make a fuss about his retirement. It was one wish his many colleagues, friends and supporters ignored.
Ingram was given a city proclamation, a resolution from the Huntington Beach Union High School District declaring last Thursday as "Ruben L. Ingram Day," and a resolution authored by State Sen. Marian Bergeson (R-Newport Beach) when he formally stepped down from his post Thursday.
He also received a brass school bell from the Fountain Valley Educational Foundation--a nonprofit group that raises money for school programs--a crystal elephant from trustees to add to his collection, and a district lapel pin. Teachers honored him by setting up a college scholarship in his name.
"I hoped there wouldn't be a whole lot of hoopla," said Ingram, who was given a standing ovation at Thursday's meeting. He added that his satisfaction has been in just "doing the job."
Ingram attended his last school board meeting that night, retiring after 10 years as the top administrator in the K-8 district, where 5,900 students attend eight elementary schools and three middle schools. He said he now plans to do consulting work within the educational field.
Ingram, 60, who started in the district in 1980 as an assistant superintendent, praised students, parents, teachers, employees, principals and trustees for their contributions to the district.
Mayor John Collins said that Ingram deserved the kudos: "His real accomplishment is the day-in-and-day-out service and the administrative leadership he's provided. A lot of people chose to live in Fountain Valley because of the school system."
Trustees also commended Ingram for his leadership in successful contract negotiations with employees, providing balanced budgets, supporting the Fountain Valley Educational Foundation, and improving employee moral and working conditions in the district.
"You have carried out your duties in an exemplary fashion," trustee Julie Hoxsie said.
Hoxsie noted that Ingram attended more than 40 middle school graduations, made more than 300 school visits and more than 120 visits to parent and teacher groups. He attended all but one board meeting in the last decade.
"You've always kept this district on the cutting edge," she said. "I think we're going to feel a void for a while."
Deputy Supt. Robert G. Sampica will serve as interim superintendent. Hoxsie said trustees will select a superintendent after the November school board election.