"After our families and our faith, our public schools have the greatest opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child," is the mantra that Dr. Herb Fischer lives by.
Hundreds paid tribute to Fischer as he retired as the County Superintendent of Schools in San Bernardino.
Using the theme "O Captain! My Captain!" His love of the sea and sailing was front and center. People who have made milestones in his life spoke. If every life he touched spoke the event would have lasted for weeks.
Speakers selected to represent groups spoke of him in different phases of his life.
Dr. Paulette Brown Hinds was one of his most successful students and part of the group who looked out for him when he became the principal of San Bernardino High School. She spoke of how he affected the life of his students. She also represented Hardy Brown one of his closest friends and the event's honorary emcee.
E. Neal Roberts Retired Superintendent of San Bernardino Schools told the story of how Fischer beat the odds after being told by a former boss that he could not move up in administration. He knew how it felt to be denied promotion and advancement and never forgot it.
Longtime Colton civic leader Ray Abril, voted to hire him to head up the Colton School Board. He said he found him to be a man of integrity, who put students first.
From Adelanto, Chris Van Zee represented the Superintendents in the 58 districts said that Fischer's philosophy said, ‘bring me a problem, bring me a solution.' Because of your support we will take the hill," said Zee.
Sailing alone in a fleet is much safer that sailing alone," said Dorene Ramsey, from the San Bernardino County Teachers Association as she presented him with the Retirement Apple awarded to retiring teachers. She called him teacher focused.
"We agree with Dr. Fischer, the success of "OUR" students is designed to get best practices to the teacher," said Linda Young, Chair of the Countywide Coalition of Teacher Presidents .
State Secretary of Education Dave Long said beside Fischer being seven months older than him, he is an educator, and the words respect, integrity caring and trust describe him. Earlier in the day Long resigned from the position.
Fischer's Alliance for Education that includes the monthly meetings with the business community was represented by Randall Lewis, Vice President of the Lewis Group. He said Fischer was "change and hope like Obama and fights like McCain." Whether business or union Fischer is a community favorite. Bill Lathrop President of the Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties said he worked with the Union and they always supported his candidacy.
There was no group too small for Fischer he was always giving back to the community. Rev. Raymond Turner told the story of him being the commencement speaker for his two graduates at the first graduation ceremony at the Temple Learning Center.
But it was the Honorable Jack O'Connell, State Superintendent of Schools who brought the house down. Using the state's budget woes he spoke of his relationship with Fischer and then announced the proclamation from is office, he pulled out a roll of toilet paper unfolding it and began reading of the accomplishments of Fischer, he explained he could not bring the normal proclamation because the budget had not been passed or signed in Sacramento and as he finished he sneezed and destroyed the entire prop. It took five minutes for the audience to calm down.
Dr. Al Karnig actually summed up the career of the man of the hour when he said, "he excelled at everything he touched. He criss crossed San Bernardino daily---because he loves to travel," he joked. "He knew where he was going and how to sacrifice to get there. He is kind, collaborating, and shows courage in facing education challenges. He is the best Superintendent in the world!, exclaimed Karnig.
Others on program were: The Wildcats Jazz Band, Etiwanda Intermediate School, Retired State Senator James Brulte, Al Waner, Ed.D, LaNee King, and the emcee, Kegham Tashjian, Ph.D who kept the program on time just like a drill sergeant. His threats to take the microphone added to the fun of the evening. His gift for retirement was a check for the Cheryl and Herb Fischer Scholarship Fund.
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