For The Madera Tribune
Kelly Porterfield, a highly respected administrator in both Madera Unified and Central Unified School Districts, died Tuesday evening after his motorcycle collided with a car on State Route 168 at Shaver Forest Highway.
The accident occurred when a Dodge Caravan driven by Aaron Harper was making a U-turn onto the westbound lane and crashed into Porterfield’s oncoming motorcycle. He died at the scene.
Porterfield came to Madera Unified in 2003 and worked his way up from Facilities Manager to Associate Superintendent for Business and Operations.
Porterfield was recognized as an aggressive fiscal manager and was given much of the credit for Madera Unified’s stable finances during the state’s severe economic downturn that obtained at the time.
Gustavo Balderas, MUSD superintendent at the time of Porterfield’s departure from the district, praised his fiscal chief.
“He has certainly been one of the district’s key employees,” Balderas said of Porterfield.
“Kelly was involved in guiding the construction of six new schools in Madera, and his close monitoring of the ever-changing fiscal situation has kept the district solvent in a time when other districts were becoming insolvent. He will indeed be missed,” Balderas asserted.
Porterfield oversaw the building of Nishimoto, Desmond, Pershing, Chavez, Parkwood, and Madera South High School.
The same level of praise has come from Central Unified, citing the modernization and upgrading of numerous facilities and the maintenance of a healthy budget despite economic uncertainties.
Porterfield oversaw the construction of Tilley Elementary and the beginning of construction of a new high school at Central Unified. He also initiated plans for another elementary school.
Porterfield’s departure from Madera Unified was unexpected. The ink was barely dry on the new three-year contract that he had signed on June 12, 2012, before he decided to leave the district. On June 29, in a cell phone conversation with The Madera Tribune while he was en route to Wyoming for vacation, Porterfield announced that he had reached agreement with Central Unified Superintendent Mike Berg to come to his district on Aug. 26, 2012.
According to Porterfield, the salary range for the position in Central Unified ran from $125,000 to $149,000 per year. The salary under his new contract with Madera Unified was $127,937.
Funeral services for Porterfield are pending. He is survived by his wife, Melissa, four children, and three grandchildren.