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loren kleinrock

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Photo by Mitch Lehman / TRIBUNE
Dr. Steve Park was the San Marino City Club’s keynote speaker for its March meeting.

During his keynote address for the City Club’s March meeting, San Marino resident Dr. Steve Park provided an overview of his life which includes service as a United States Navy medical officer and career as a hospitalist.
In retrospect, an argument could be made that the subject of memory retention would have also sufficed, as Park’s is apparently as sound as the proverbial steel trap.
So is former San Marino educator Loren Kleinrock’s, Park’s former assistant principal during his days at San Marino High School and offensive coordinator for the Titan football team, for which Park was a record-setting wide receiver.
In vivid detail, Park recalled Kleinrock busting him for going to a buddy’s house for lunch even though he was not yet a privileged senior. Kleinrock, meanwhile, recalled one time Park didn’t perfectly execute one of his pass patterns. That these transgressions took place almost 30 years ago was incidental and only seemed to heighten the mutual respect that exists between them to this day.

Photo by Mitch Lehman / TRIBUNE
Loren Kleinrock, who worked in several different capacities during 43 years at the San Marino Unified School District, recently received the Golden Apple Award.

He spent more than four decades educating the young people of San Marino, and now, Loren Kleinrock has received one of the highest honors in the trade when he was given the Golden Apple Award during a recent ceremony at Santa Anita Park.
The Golden Apple is sponsored by the Association of California School Administrators and the ceremony was hosted by the Northwest San Gabriel Valley Administrators Association, which encompasses 10 local school districts. The award is presented to those who have made significant contributions to their school districts. Nam Jack, a two-term school board member and longtime volunteer, received the award last year.
“It may sound clichéd, but I am truly honored to have received the Golden Apple Award,” Kleinrock said. “I’ve had the honor and fun to present previous winners from our district, but I never expected to be named a recipient. The list of those who have earned this award before me includes a lot of names that have contributed so much to our schools and community, truly incredible people. I know how hard many of them worked on behalf of so many others.”
Kleinrock’s legacy pales to none of those who preceded him.
After graduating from UCLA, Kleinrock came to the San Marino Unified School District in 1975 as a government and history teacher. He was named assistant principal at San Marino High School in 1986 and served until 1992, when he went to Huntington Middle School for a two-year stint as principal. He returned to SMHS in 1995 and served as principal until the summer of 2011, when he was named superintendent upon Gary Woods accepting a similar position at the Beverly Hills Unified School District. Kleinrock stayed on until Alex Cherniss was hired as superintendent in 2014. Kleinrock spent the next two years “flat retired,” in his words, until Cherniss invited him back as a consultant in 2016 to implement the state’s Next Generation Science Standards and the framework for a new state history and social studies curriculum.

Photo courtesy Rafael Najarian
Kleinrock delivered the commencement speech at San Marino High School’s 2019 graduation ceremony.

In the spring of 2017, Eric Bergmann, San Marino High School’s assistant principal of activities, athletics and discipline, resigned to become principal at Thousand Oaks High School, and Kleinrock was asked to fill in with four months left in the school year. Kleinrock was still serving as a consultant when Cherniss left to become the superintendent of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District in August 2018. Once again, the call for Kleinrock went to the bullpen and he spent another nine months as the SMUSD’s superintendent until Jeff Wilson took over on July 1, 2019.

Photo by Mitch Lehman / TRIBUNE
The SMUSD placed this plaque near the principal’s office at San Marino High School upon Kleinrock’s “first” retirement in 2014.

“I have been blessed to work with a lot of truly wonderful people — parents, district personnel and community members,” Kleinrock added. “To use a football analogy, which won’t surprise those of you who know me, for many years I was in the ‘quarterback’ role. But as any successful quarterback knows, one needs the ‘linemen’ to do the heavy lifting necessary to make things happen successfully. I have loved my time working in San Marino, and I feel very blessed to have been around in one capacity or another for 43 working years. I would not have traded my job here for any other job in any other place. The friends, former students, parents and acquaintances I’ve met over those years, with many of whom I am still in contact, have been and continue to be a true blessing in my life.”
Kleinrock and his wife, Sandy — also a retired educator — have two adult sons and two grandchildren. Kleinrock has kept his many ties to the community and is currently serving as president of the San Marino City Club.
“Loren has spent more than 40 years in San Marino and is very much a member of this community,” said school board President C. Joseph Chang. “He has given so much to our children and our schools, it is an honor to be able to recognize him for his contributions.”

THE LAST WORD: Longtime educator Loren Kleinrock, who most recently served as interim superintendent, spoke at San Marino High School’s graduation on Friday. Terry Fouché Photo

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in,” says a famous line from The Godfather Part III, and even though the life’s work of Loren Kleinrock has absolutely nothing to do with organized crime, it wouldn’t be a stretch to hear those words coming from his mouth.

The 2018-19 school year marks Kleinrock’s 43rd at the San Marino Unified School District and—to quote another film, “Never Say Never” – it is most likely his last.

After graduating from UCLA, Kleinrock came to the San Marino Unified School District in 1975 as a Government and History teacher. He was named assistant principal at SMHS in 1986 and served until 1992, when he went to Huntington Middle School for a two-year stint as principal. He returned to SMHS in 1995 and served as principal until the summer of 2011, when he was named superintendent upon Dr. Gary Woods accepting a similar position at the Beverly Hills Unified School District. Kleinrock stayed on until Dr. Alex Cherniss was hired as superintendent in 2014. Kleinrock spent the next two years “flat retired,” in his words, until Cherniss invited him back as a consultant in 2016 to implement the state’s Next Generation Science Standards and the framework for a new state History and Social Studies curriculum.

In the spring of 2017, Dr. Eric Bergmann, San Marino High School’s assistant principal of activities, athletics and discipline, resigned to become principal at Thousand Oaks High School and Kleinrock was asked to fill in with four months left in the school year. Kleinrock was still serving as a consultant when Cherniss left to become the superintendent of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District in August 2018. Once again, the call for Kleinrock went to the bullpen and he has spent the past nine months as the SMUSD’s superintendent, again, until Dr. Jeff Wilson takes his chair on July 1.

Phew…

“I’m happy riding off into the sunset, but if there is something I can be useful for I would consider it,” said Kleinrock, who thanks to a lifelong regimen of regular exercise and a healthy diet looks a little over half of his 68 years (he will turn 69 on June 13, a milestone he will acknowledge by being the keynote speaker at that day’s meeting of the Rotary Club of San Marino).

Kleinrock consistently acknowledges he enjoys the extra sleep afforded by retirement after decades of rising at 5:00 a.m. and crawling back into the rack late at night following this meeting or that game.

“Quite frankly, one of the things I liked to do in retirement was sleep as late as I could, decide what I wanted to do that day and then go out and do it,” he said.

Reflecting on his four-plus decades or service to the community, Kleinrock told The Tribune that “San Marino High School is still a good place to send your children.”

“If you want the best education in this part of the world, then you come here,” Kleinrock said. “If you are looking for the highest GPA, then you might want to go somewhere else because it is a competitive atmosphere. Like I said in my speech, you will get challenged here, but it’s a plus.”

He acknowledged that a career in public education is now “a lot more work.”

“To be very clear, I understand that this is a job and we are not being paid to have fin, but it is less fun,” he said. “There are so many requirements from the state and everybody is going 100 miles an hour. And in San Marino, especially, because we have a small staff. We have assistant superintendents with nobody under them. There is a comradery that develops among teachers and administrators and staff when you have some informal time to spend together. It has become difficult to do that because of all the grind.”

No matter his future employment plans, Kleinrock will not be a stranger to the 91108 as he will be the San Marino City Club’s president for 2020. He and his wife, Sandy, will have more opportunities to travel spend time with their two adult children and two grandchildren.

But he didn’t rule out a return.

“If it’s right for the district,” he said.

Kleinrock’s comments seemed almost autobiographical as he delivered what will most likely be his final graduation speech in Titan Stadium.

“I would submit the real challenge lies ahead.,” Kleinrock said. “Because perhaps the greatest challenge, the most important challenge, is for you to make a positive difference in your world. To strive for a level of excellence in yourself that allows your character to shine like a mirror, reflecting the qualities of a commitment to and a compassion for others, to touch the lives of others in such a way that all those around you are better than they would have been if you were not here. Is there a more meaningful legacy that?”

According to the standards Kleinrock created and developed in San Marino, the answer would be a heartfelt “no.”

RETURN OF THE ROCK: Loren Kleinrock was named interim superintendent of San Marino schools on Tuesday night. Mitch Lehman Photo

The San Marino School Board on Tuesday evening named Loren Kleinrock interim superintendent following its second closed session meeting on the subject.

“I greatly appreciate you putting your trust in me again,” Kleinrock said after the announcement was made by School Board President Shelley Ryan.

Ryan said the board agreed it was prudent to appoint an interim superintendent and allow the newly configured board choose a permanent replacement after the Nov. 6 election, when three seats will be contested.

Kleinrock’s appointment was met with a brisk round of applause from the 25 or so in attendance at Tuesday evening’s meeting.

Kleinrock has worked in the SMUSD since 1975, including 17 years as principal of San Marino High School and a previous stint as superintendent from 2011-14. Most recently, Kleinrock has served as a consultant in curriculum and instruction and also as interim assistant principal of activities, athletics and discipline at San Marino High School earlier this year.

If anyone can say they have “done it all” in the SMUSD it is Kleinrock, who has taught at both Huntington Middle School and San Marino High School, coached football, baseball and soccer, served as assistant principal and principal at SMHS, superintendent of schools and the consultant roles.

After graduating from UCLA, Kleinrock came to the SMUSD in 1975 as a Government and History teacher. He was named principal of SMHS in 1986 and served until 1992, when he went to Huntington Middle School for a three-year stint as principal. He returned to SMHS in 1995 and served another term as principal until the summer of 2011, when he was named superintendent upon Dr. Gary Woods accepting a similar position at the Beverly Hills Unified School District. Kleinrock stayed on until Cherniss was hired in 2014, but soon returned as a consultant, implementing the state’s Next Generation Science Standards and the framework for a new state History and Social Studies curriculum.