Local son to lead major school district

Local son to lead major school districtGeorge Silberberg, longtime local resident and iconic China Lake inventor, would like News Review readers to know that his son has hit the big time in the world of education. This July 1 Dr. Kevin Silberberg will begin a three-year contract as superintendent of the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District in Bakersfield, a huge district encompassing 16,732 students at 24 schools.

Kevin was born here in 1959, and his parents, George and Pat, used to worry a bit about their son, who seemed indifferent to school. “At Burroughs High School he was like a C student,” said George. “He would rather play basketball.”

With a lot of encouragement from their coach, Larry Bird, Kevin and his teammate Robert Campbell (now athletic director at BHS) both obtained basketball scholarships to Point Loma College, which they attended after they graduated in 1976.

“One time when we visited him at college, Kevin asked us if it would be OK if he gave up the scholarship,” said George. “He wanted to stay in college but not to continue focusing on basketball.” George and Pat were elated to give their permission.

“All we really wanted was for him to get a college degree, then make a good living,” George explained. Much to their joy, Kevin went on to get his bachelor’s degree — then a master’s degree — then a Ph.D.

What turned him around academically? He had met, fallen in love with and married his wife, Dawn. George gives her all the credit. “She’s a jewel!” said George.

For the past six years, Kevin has been the superintendent of the Standard School District in Oildale, taking charge of four schools and 2,850 students, many of them in low-income households. So superb has his performance been that in 2012 Region XI of the Association of California School Administrators named him its Administrator of the Year.

According to the Bakersfield Californian, Kevin joked when he learned of the recent good news that “he’d happened to eat a fortune cookie this week that foretold, ‘You will make a change for the better.’”

He added, “I’m excited about the district’s plans and the direction that the board would like to go.”

Kevin and Dawn live in his new district, and all three of their now-grown children went through Panama schools before moving to San Diego.

Story First Published: 2013-06-19