Madera Unified School District is almost 50 years old, having been born officially on July 1, 1965. Although many of the major players in the movement that created one unified school district out of the 10 formerly independent local districts have passed, there are several around who have vivid memories of the days before and after unification. Two such individuals are Grady Billington and Dr. Duane Furman.
Billington was superintendent/principal of the old Berenda Elementary School District, and Furman was superintendent of the Madera Elementary School District in May of 1965, when an election held in that year dissolved their individual districts to form Madera Unified.
In 2002, the two men held a reunion of sorts for my benefit. I listened intently to the intriguing conversation because these two men were indeed living history. They are the only two surviving superintendents whose districts were connected with the old Madera Union High School District.
It was a delightful afternoon, filled with anecdotes and memories of former colleagues: Truman Bratton, Bill York, Jack Netherton, Vince Ranstma, and dozens more...