• About Russell A. Ford

    Russ Ford was born in April of 1949, in Lynwood, California. Raised in South Gate by parents Mary and Ted Ford with his brother, Michael, Russ graduated from South Gate High School in 1967, later earning both B. A. and Master’s Degrees in Reading from California State University, Los Angeles. He married Theresa Apel in 1972, in Downey, California,where they made a home for 38 years. The happy couple had their first child,Emily, in 1978, with Robin soon following in 1980, much to Emily’s delight, who exclaimed after Robin arrived, “She’s still here!” A devoted husband, father,and grandfather, Russ delighted in his grandchildren, Amanda and Luc, with whom he spent many delightful hours as an “on-call” grandpa!

    A parishioner of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Russwas blessed with an extended loving family and a host of friends who loved his gentle spirit, inquiring mind, and witty humor. He was an avid fly-fisherman and truly enjoyed his membership in the Downey Fly Fishers. He took great pleasure in tying his own flies, attending fly-fishing conferences, and in particular, fishing in California and across the United States! In just ten months of retirement, he was delighted to have the opportunity to catch arctic grayling and salmon in Alaska, land a "20-20" brown trout, cutthroat,and rainbow trout in Arizona, and to fish for his last Heritage trout in Sutter County.


    Russ wore many hats during his 32-year tenure at Spurgeon Intermediate School, serving as a teacher, reading specialist, Title I Program Specialist, and Teacher on Special Assignment at the fortunate school. Russ believed that students came first, and that student needs eclipsed all other priorities at school. He was hard working and gracious, arriving at school at6:00 am and leaving after 5:00 pm, exhibiting the work ethic of a great educator. Russ was responsible for all of the student recognition activities at Spurgeon. Reading was dearest to Russ’ heart with Russ earning Spurgeon its 1990Golden Bell Award for his outstanding Title I Reading Program, and he often reminisced about the wonderful year he and his students transformed the library into an undersea realm. He created READ posters of Spurgeon staff members posing with their favorite books, and created Spurgeon’s Accelerated Reader Club mascot, “SpARCy,” to help motivate Spurgeon students to read. He was often seen riding around the school on a bicycle he purchased with his own funds as a prize for a lucky Spurgeon reader!


    Russ was also committed to supporting his fellow Spurgeon staff members, participating as an active member of Spurgeon’s Instructional Leadership Team, the Safe and Civil Schools committee, School Site Council, the ELAC committee, UCLA Leadership, and Spurgeon’s accreditation team.Additionally, Russ was responsible for new teacher and new administrator training, and was a major advocate for the Special Education Department having participated in more IEPs than can be numbered! Responsible for or involved with every major project at Spurgeon until his retirement in 2010, Russ helped develop one of the most comprehensive education technology programs in the district, including designing Spurgeon’s four computer labs and overseeing the network installation, facilitating Spurgeon’s full network access years before it was the norm and most of us had even heard of E-Rate funding. He continually supported the upgrade and maintenance of Spurgeon’s technology and was integral to Spurgeon’s most recent technology upgrade to install SmartBoards, Elmos, & projectors in every classroom. Due to his ceaseless efforts on behalf of Spurgeon’s students and staff, Russ was named Spurgeon’s Support Staff Educator of the Year in 2008 on his 30th anniversary with the Santa Ana Unified School District. Russ’ contribution to Spurgeon’s students and staff cannot be overstated; in the words of his fellow teachers, he was much more than a teacher or Title I Program Specialist; he was the soul of Spurgeon.

Last Modified on August 5, 2019