HESPERIA • As a newly elected board member with the Hesperia Unified School District, Cody Gregg is not waiting for the future to make a difference in the world.
For Gregg, 21, the future is now.
As a Mojave High graduate and current member of the California National Guard, Gregg may be the youngest member of a school board in the history of San Bernardino County.
Gregg stunned the community when he beat Marcy Kittinger and incumbent Chris Bentley, the current board president.
In 1973, former state assemblyman Joe Canciamilla was elected to the Pittsburg, Calif. school board while still in high school at age 17.
Gregg, who helped indigenous students during his military time in Afghanistan, said he was inspired to run for a school seat after he saw students struggling with personal issues here in the states.
“We need to put the focus back on the students, and that includes campus safety and the way the campuses are run,” Gregg said. “Over the past few years, we’ve seen a decrease of campus police and we need to look at how that happened, why that happened, and how to fix it — or find a suitable alternative.”
Gregg believes that his youth gives him a unique and fresh perspective on the district over his older colleagues.
“Just a few years ago, I was the one sitting behind the desk,” Gregg said. “I will be able to see how the board’s decisions will affect the students.”
Ella “Lee” Rogers, who also won a seat during the election, said she is confident that Gregg’s dedication and diligence during his campaign will continue on the board.
“Cody is light-years ahead of any 21-year-old, and he ran for all the right reasons,” Rogers said. “Maybe it’s time that we have some more young people at the helm.”
Rogers, a previous board member, said Gregg and the board will have their hands full. They’ll be dealing with the ramifications of Proposition 30 while working to keep the district financially solvent and focusing on school safety and some 22,000 students.
Even after his victory, Gregg said the birth of his 2-year-old daughter, Madison, was the greatest accomplishment in his life.
“My wife, Breanna, and I want to make the schools better because our daughter is a future student, and because our students are also the future,” said Gregg, who will remain a Guardsman until 2014.
Gregg and his father, Kelly, ran for a seat with the Hesperia Recreation and Park Board in 2010, while the younger Gregg served as a military police officer in Afghanistan.
Kelly Gregg won his park seat, while his son, a write-in candidate, was defeated.
Gregg and Rogers will join three current school board members on Dec. 7.
“My goal is Hesperia Unified School District and I have no intention currently of running for something higher,” Gregg said. “If something comes up down the road where I’m needed — who can say? For now, let’s keep moving forward.”
Rene De La Cruz may be reached at (760) 951-6227 or at RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com.