When Rebecca Turrentine retired as superintendent of Bellflower Unified School District 15 years ago, she wanted to give back to her community and to her profession.
Now her latest volunteer commitment enables her to do both at the same time. She was recently appointed by the LBUSD Board of Education to serve on the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (COC), which monitors and reports on expenditures for Measures K and E.
Together, these two voter-approved bond measures fund $2.7 billion in campus facilities construction and modernization districtwide.
Turrentine is a veteran educator with strong ties to Long Beach. She attended LBUSD schools, graduating from Poly High School and Cal State Long Beach. She earned her doctorate from USC. She taught briefly in LBUSD before taking a 10-year break to raise her family.
Her two grown daughters and their families also live in Long Beach. She has been married for 50 years to Richard Turrentine, who retired as the deputy superintendent for the Magnolia School District in Anaheim.
“Because I’ve spent nearly my entire life in Long Beach, I feel a strong affinity to the city, and the COC is the perfect place for me to use my training and experience to improve facilities for local students,” she said. “From what I’ve seen so far, I believe that bond funds are being used wisely, and I’m impressed with the research and forethought that has gone into planning for campus improvements.”
Turrentine is a former elementary teacher, coordinator, vice-principal and principal in the Westminster School District. She also served as an assistant superintendent in the Huntington Beach City School District before being appointed to the top job in Bellflower Unified in 1993.
During her 10 years at the helm in Bellflower, she led a facilities improvement effort that included rehabilitation and re-opening of two closed schools and modernization of 10 more school sites, a child development center, district office annex, athletic fields and related facilities, and an emergency operations and command center.
She is also credited with reducing the dropout rate to one of the lowest in the state and increasing instructional opportunities for students with eight schools achieving California Distinguished School status, and two achieving National Blue Ribbon status. Turrentine was named California Superintendent of the Year in 2000.
Following her retirement in 2003, Turrentine has served as a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Education, the L.A. County Education Foundation Board of Directors, the Long Beach City College Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, the LBCC Education Foundation Board of Governors, and the L.A. Board of Supervisors Education Reform Steering Committee, and as the Chair of the Long Beach Commission on Youth and Children.