The longest-serving school-board member in the nation is retiring.
“There comes a time. I’m 86 and it’s time.”—Retiring Fresno County Office of Education Trustee Delbert Cederquist
For 65 years, Delbert Cederquist has served on one local school board or another. He has been a member of the Fresno County Office of Education board since 1994.
“There comes a time. I’m 86 and it’s time,” Cederquist said from his farm 10 miles south of Fresno. He plans to continue growing a variety of grapes and spend more time with his family.
School politics has changed in his six-and-half-decades serving on school boards. He was just 21 when he was first elected to the University Colony School Board in 1953.
“I’m not sure I’m going to miss it. The atmosphere has changed a lot,” he said.
When Cederquist started, he said local districts imposed and spent property taxes. Now, that goes to the state and funnels back locally.
“We have a Legislature and everyone thinks they are an educator,” Cederquist laments.
Last summer, the FCOE Foundation honored Cederquist at its annual gala for his dedication to advancing education and helping students realize their potential in academics.
Son Leads in Education As Well
Delbert’s passion for education is shared by his son, Eric, the superintendent of Fowler Unified. He has nothing but praise for his father.
“My father should be remembered as a passionate supporter of public education in the Valley,” Eric Cederquist wrote to GV Wire in an email. “He has always been a strong advocate for rural schools and schools districts in Fresno County to ensure that students of poverty receive a quality education.”
Delbert Cederquist has endorsed Marcy Masumoto as his successor for FCOE Board Area 4, which covers the southern part of Fresno County.
Masumoto, an educational consultant and member of the Sanger Unified school board, filed her paperwork to run in mid-June.
“I would like to take what I know through my experience and apply it to the entire county so all of our students, especially in the rural areas, have access to the highest quality programs available,” Masumoto said.
Her name should be familiar. Her husband, Mas Masumoto, is a well-known farmer, ag advocate and author. They operate a farm just outside of Del Rey.
“I’ve been working with her for quite some time. She’s served on Sanger. She knows what it is at a local district,” Cederquist said of Masumoto.
Masumoto is grateful to have Cederquist’s support.
“The fact that he has faith in me means a lot,” she said.
A Changing Board
One other board seat is up for re-election in November. Ismael Herrera told GV Wire he is not planning to run for re-election the Area 1 seat covering much of Fresno County’s west side. He intends on running for Kerman City Council instead.
Also, Nelson Esparza, who represents parts of Fresno as the Area 3 trustee, is running for Fresno City Council. If he wins, he will need to vacate his seat next year.