San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD) Board of Education had a surprise up its sleeve when cutting the ribbon on its newly remodeled Board of Education Building on Tuesday, Dec. 10; it renamed the boardroom after longtime educator Margaret Hill, a current board member and Highland resident.
Upon seeing the plaque dedicating the room the “Dr. Margaret Hill Community Room” in her honor, Hill was clearly surprised, hiding her face during the first wave of emotion.
After revealing the plaque, SBCUSD Superintendent Dale Marsden and the board each spoke of Hill’s lasting and far-reaching impact on the community as an educator and nurturing community leader. Further expanding her positive influence is her loving mentorship of many other impactful educators and community leaders.
“She’s always a mom to our students,” said SBCUSD Board President Abigail Medina. “She’s so nurturing. There’s no reason to wait to honor her.”
SBCUSD Boardman Danny Tillman called Hill a true institution in San Bernardino education.
Hill worked as a teacher then principal in the district until 2003 and has served on the board of education since 2011. Her last assignment as a district employee was as principal of San Andreas High School in Highland.
“She’s giving back [to the community] everyday,” Tillman said.
“You epitomize love, heartfulness and courage. You motivate and inspire us,” said Boardwoman Barbara Flores. Flores also pointed out that Hill was at the forefront of integrating the district’s certified teachers.
Hill shared that she was happy to learn that the room was being dedicated to honor a local education leader, but she could not find anything else out. She recommended Francis Rice for the honor.
Speaking of her dedication to students, Hill said, “I work hard for and believe in the kids because I was there too. I was not the A-B student. So, I fight because if I could make it I know every kid in American can make it.”
The board of education building received its first remodel since being built in 1979. The building received new fire suppression, fire alarm, security, lighting and audio-visual systems, according to Facilities Director Thomas Pace. New flooring and desks were also installed, and the building was repainted inside and out.
The remodel also brought the building into compliance with updated seismic, fire, safety and Americans with Disabilities Act codes.
When giving direction on the remodel, the board asked that the building be given a more community feel with more inviting entrances and a modern and professional boardroom.
The work took two years to complete. During that time the board held its meetings at Indian Springs High School.
The upgraded lighting and visual-audio systems give the most dramatic improvement over the old room, making it brighter and easier for viewers to follow the board’s action.
Among the first actions of the meeting, the board elected its officers for the 2020.
Vice President Gwen Rodgers was elected president for the upcoming year and Boardman Scott Wyatt was elected vice president. Rodgers and Wyatt have been on the board since 2015.
Also, at Tuesday’s meeting, Superintendent Dale Marsden, informed the board of education of his intent to resign. However, the official resignation date is yet to be determined. A special board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 17.