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UPDATE: Councilman Ferry announces departure from Bishop Alemany

Posted: February 13, 2014 4:03 p.m.
Updated: February 13, 2014 8:16 p.m.

Frank Ferry.

 

Frank Ferry, the longtime educator whose 16 years of service on the Santa Clarita City Council are drawing to a close, announced Thursday he is leaving education and planning a career as an attorney and consultant.

In an interview Thursday, Ferry, who is 48, recounted how his sons’ time in high school went by “like the blink of an eye” and added, “I don’t want to blink again and find I’m 55 and opportunities have passed me by.”

Ferry became principal of Bishop Alemany High School eight years ago. Friday will be his last day, he announced in his resignation letter.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles also issued a letter Thursday praising his years leading the school.

“Frank’s tenure has been marked with numerous and important changes and improvements to the Bishop Alemany program and facilities,” reads the letter, signed by Monsignor Sal Pilato, superintendent of high schools for the archdiocese.

“Enrollment has increased tremendously, making Alemany the largest Catholic high school in the archdiocese,” the letter reads. “The academic, counseling and athletic programs have seen tremendous growth.”

Ferry’s decision to leave education after 25 years follows his announcement last year that he would not seek re-election to the City Council in April. A council member’s departure from elected office has become a rare event in Santa Clarita.

Known for earnestly speaking his mind on the council, Ferry occasionally lost his temper, once labeling residents opposed to growth “developmental terrorists.” He caught much criticism for the comment.

In late 2010 Ferry underwent surgery and nearly died, spending 10 days in a coma before awakening in January 2011.

The experience changed his life and was among the factors that influenced his decision to leave education after 25 years in the field, Ferry said Thursday.

“The coma taught me that the reality is you only have today,” Ferry said. His current situation is “one of those times when everything’s aligned for change.”

Having earned a juris doctorate years ago, Ferry said he has “submitted paperwork to activate my license and have the opportunity to provide consultation to both schools and municipalities.”

As an example, he said, during his years at Alemany he developed an international student exchange program with Catholic schools in Korea, Japan and China that brought in $1.5 million and helped the school avoid cutbacks during the recession.

“More importantly, it meant tuition assistance,” he said. “A lot of East Valley students were able to come to Alemany” due to the program.

Other Catholic schools could benefit by learning how to institute such programs, he said, adding that his knowledge of municipal issues gained while a councilman could benefit municipalities, as well.

Ferry is planning to marry this summer and says he’s ready for a career change.

He faces surgery within six weeks to deal with complications from the near-death experience. Eight weeks of recovery will follow.

After that, “I’ve had about nine opportunities (for work) and I have to decide what works best.”

Ferry taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District before being hired by the William S. Hart Union High School District in 1995 as a social studies teacher at Valencia High School.

He became Associated Student Body director at Valencia in 1996 and served as assistant principal at Saugus High School from 2002 until he left the Hart district in 2006 to lead Alemany.

The archdiocese said that Vice Principal Jan Galla will lead the school for the rest of the school year.

 

 

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