Steve and Wilma Turchik

Former Principal inducted into the inaugural Educator’s Hall of Fame

October 19, 2007
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesIt seems like almost everyone at the Inaugural Induction of the Ventura County Educator’s Hall of Fame awards dinner had a story about Wilma Turchik. “Wilma was the principal of Glen City School when my kids were students there,” said Blanchard Community Library Librarian Dan Robles, who also serves on the Santa Paula Elementary School District Board of Trustees.“I had Steve (Turchik) as a teacher and I know Wilma... I believe everyone does,” noted Mayor Ray Luna. “Tonight is a well-deserved recognition,” with Wilma among the inaugural 10 inductees - including State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, a former Oxnard School District teacher and coach - into the county’s Educator’s Hall of Fame, added Luna.A lifelong educator, Wilma may be the only person in Ventura County to have served as principal of three schools... at one time! In her 44-year educational career she was the principal of nine schools until her retirement in 1991. Wilma began her teaching career in 1948 at Ventura’s Mill School, progressing on to vice principal, teaching principal, and then full-time principal.With a master’s degree in Gifted Education from USC, Wilma also completed some doctoral studies and has been honored as a demonstration teacher. So skilled was Wilma that she later became the demonstration principal at Hueneme School for the county school district.Upon her marriage to Steve Turchik, Wilma took a hiatus before she resumed her educational career at Barbara Webster School as a teaching vice principal. Two years later she was given a three-school assignment.Wilma, after undergoing cancer surgery and treatment, returned to the classroom after being the principal of McKevett School. And in 1981 she was back in the office as the principal of Portal and Grace Thille schools, as well as being the district curriculum director.During her last three years as an educator, Wilma served as the principal of Grace Thille School, Glen City School and Blanchard School, her last assignment. In addition, Wilma, a native of Fillmore whose family moved to Santa Paula just days after her birth, designed the SPESD logo.
“Wilma was excellent in everything she did,” either in the classroom or the administrative offices, said her friend, former SPESD teacher Rose Boggs.Also in attendance at the dinner - held at Oxnard’s Lobster Trap - were SPESD Superintendent Elizabeth De Vita, former SPESD Superintendent Luis Villegas and Supervisor Kathy Long. “The folks in this room, including Wilma, have created the framework for our future,” said Long. “With my son (Austin), I know what inspiration children get from teachers” that can last a lifetime.“Wilma is a legend,” said Vice Mayor John Procter, who helped organize the event.“Welcome to the inaugural class,” said Ventura County Superintendent of Schools Chuck Weiss, who noted that studies have shown that teaching is what “makes all things possible.” Society has changed and must be changed back to reflect who the true heroes are: “Public education is the foundation of democracy, and it is our fault in our present day society” that youngsters worship athletes who earn “astronomical amounts of money.” The Educator’s Hall of Fame was established to showcase true heroes and inspire children to enter the field of education, Weiss noted.Luna presented Wilma with her award, and Steve Turchik spoke on behalf of his wife. “Wilma wants me to say thank you very much... she doesn’t give long speeches so she wants to say thank you and goodbye.”

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.