BY Colby McCoy
Dale Creighton is the incumbent president of the South Fork Union School Board, a proud father of six children and a fifth-generation member of the storied Smith family, pioneers who settled in South Fork as far back as the mid 1800s.
Creighton attended California Polytechnic State University where he earned a degree in agronomy.
He has been inducted into the Cal Poly Athletic Hall of Fame for his achievements as an all-American and all-league defensive football player, making him one of 33 seniors to receive an NCAA post-graduate scholarship.
In addition to his familial lineage, Creighton has a deep personal connection with South Fork, having purchased a farm on Kelso Creek Road at 18.
Today, his two youngest children, Tom and Jack, live in the South Fork district and work on Creighton’s farm and ranch. Creighton said that all six of his children have attended South Fork Union School and Kern Valley High School.
His mother, Winnie Henderson, was the acting principal and superintendent for South Fork schools “for a number of years,” Creighton told the Kern Valley Sun.
Henderson’s passion for education and working with students carried over to Creighton, who has been a dedicated trustee of the South Fork Union School Board for more than 40 years.
When asked why he was running for the school board again, Creighton explained, “I’m running for the school board because I am passionate on the importance of education. It is the bedrock foundation of our freedoms and method of governing in our country. Our children are the most precious and valuable resource, and my desire is to provide and equip them with the educational opportunities needed for a healthy and productive life.”
The mission statement for South Fork Union Schools reads: “To give students a desire for lifelong learning, and to provide educational opportunities that will help them prepare for lifelong learning. We offer relevant education in a safe environment; with opportunities for academic, athletic and social success.”
Currently, the South Fork Union District contains three schools across two campuses: South Fork Preschool, South Fork Elementary and South Fork Intermediate School.
Over the years, enrollment numbers have fluctuated, with a high of 417 students in 1994. As of today, the number of enrolled students between all schools is 270.