May 17, 2016 – The Journalism students at Compton Junior High had the opportunity to talk directly to Mr. Harry “Doc” Ervin, the new Superintendent of the Bakersfield City School District. The article is below:
Starting July 1, 2016, Harry “Doc” Ervin will be the new Superintendent for the Bakersfield City School District. Although he has not officially started working yet, he has already visited both students and employees.
While it is true that Mr. Ervin is BCSD’s first African-American superintendent, he doesn’t focus on this. He believes that “background and ethnicity does not matter when it comes to success.” Background and ethnicity do not define who a person is; instead, it’s about how you do the job. Mr. Ervin said, “I don’t want to be known as the first black superintendent. I want to be known for my work and effort as the superintendent.”
Mr. Ervin has been a Marine, construction worker, a math teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and a superintendent. The two most important positions were principal and superintendent because they really move a school forward. Mr. Ervin plans to be superintendent for at least five years to see success. He wants BSCD to be his last job before retirement.
Mr. Ervin’s main goal is to accelerate student performance. He said, “Accelerating is different from increasing growth. Anyone can increase performance by a percentage point.” By the time students start high school, they should feel confident in their ability.
Mr. Ervin has four kids. Their names are Carlos, Lewis, Mario, and Sofia. He and his daughter Sofia have the same birthday, so he hasn’t celebrated his birthday in 5 years. His 15-year-old son might play basketball for a local school next year.
Life was tough for Mr. Ervin. He struggled until he was 18 years old. Fortunately, he had Susan Naples who was an inspiration and mentor. She supported him through high school, his time in the military, and his decision to become a teacher. She also was his brothers’ teacher but since they did not share the same last name, the brothers didn’t know this until her funeral.
Mr. Ervin went to the military because it was his only option. The military taught him discipline. As a Marine at Camp Pendleton, he would play basketball at the children’s center. In the 1980s, “Dr.” Julius Irving was a famous basketball player who was best known for his slam dunks. Since both Ervin and Irving could slam dunk, the kids gave Mr. Ervin the nickname “Doc.”
Mr. Ervin is an example of life not coming easy but ending with success. His journey from a difficult childhood to successful educator shows that second chances are important.
On Tuesday, April 26 Mr. Ervin gave this advice to the Compton Jr. High journalism class: “Find your pathway. Determine what you want to do and go 100%. If you believe it and achieve it, you can do it.”