Orange County School Boards Association honors OCDE’s retiring general counsel

OCDE’s longtime legal chief was surprised this week with a top honor from the Orange County School Boards Association

General Counsel Ron Wenkart, who will retire from the department this summer after more than 35 years of service, was recognized Wednesday evening with OCSBA’s Maureen DiMarco Award at the association’s annual dinner meeting in Costa Mesa. The award was established to highlight exemplary and far-reaching leadership in service of Orange County’s youth.

Ron Wenkart and OCSBA First Vice President Francine Scinto

OCDE General Counsel Ron Wenkart accepts the 2018 Maureen DiMarco Award from OCSBA First Vice President Francine Scinto, who serves on the Tustin Unified Board of Education.

Wenkart has been representing California school districts since 1978. He joined the Orange County Department of Education as a staff attorney in 1982 and was promoted to general counsel two years later. He and his staff advise local school districts, community college districts, the Orange County superintendent of schools and the Orange County Board of Education in all matters pertaining to education law.

Highly respected throughout the state, Wenkart has written articles on education law, taught classes as an adjunct professor, made numerous presentations and played key roles in legislative efforts, including seeking additional federal funding for special education.

OCSBA, an association of local school district and community college boards, has handed out the Maureen DiMarco Award since 1993. Its namesake, Maureen DiMarco, served as president of the California School Boards Association and the Orange County School Boards Association, and she was California’s first cabinet secretary for child development and education.