Founding Clovis Unified Superintendent Floyd 'Doc' Buchanan dies at 91

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Floyd "Doc" Buchanan passed away Tuesday morning of natural causes at the age of 91.

Teachers and school administrators around the Valley are mourning the loss of a longtime Clovis educator, who's being remembered as a visionary genius. Floyd "Doc" Buchanan passed away Tuesday morning of natural causes at the age of 91.

Buchanan was the founding superintendent who built the top performing district on core principles that leaders say set him apart from the rest. Even recently, Buchanan was giving input on ways to make the district better.

Buchanan believed in core values that Clovis Unified leaders say they work to instill in kids each day at the 32 schools across the district. He coined phrases like "a fair break for every kid" and "people not programs make a positive difference for students."

Deputy Superintendent Carlo Prandini was hired by Buchanan in 1978. He says Buchanan was still involved in the district until the end.

"If you think for a minute that he didn't run through the tape, it was just last week that he was walking around the district office, I don't know what his excuse was for being there that particular day, but he stopped me for a second and he talked to me about 'you know the bus parking at Clovis High? I got some ideas that I need to talk to you about,'" said Prandini.

Buchanan took the top job in 1960. At the time, just over 5,000 students were in the district. Today, there are more than 39,000.

Buchanan enjoyed sharing his vision with new teachers and personally interviewed as many as he could. Employees say he made each of them feel valued.

Charles Hensen remembers his first meeting with Buchanan in 1980, while he was a groundskeeper at Tarpey Elementary School.

"I will never forget that moment because it made me feel like even though I was the lowest person probably on the chain of command, just edging grass, that he took the step to come visit me and tell me that I was doing a great job," said Hensen.

Clovis Mayor Nathan Magsig, also a Clovis West graduate, remembered Buchanan as a man who even in retirement never stopped attending athletic competitions and community events.

"I think that's one thing that truly separates Doc Buchanan from many other people. Even when he retired, he made it clear that he was all about the kids. He loved the kids, and he wanted to make sure the kids that came through Clovis Unified did their best," said Magsig.

At Buchanan Educational Center, and the high school that bears his name, a large statue is a reminder of the district he built. Buchanan was at the unveiling of it in 2012.

The current superintendent promised in his absence, she will continue with the longstanding tradition he built over decades.

"Because of his legacy and his core values upon which we work today, we are committed to carrying out his legacy of excellence in class," said Dr. Janet Young.

Buchanan died at his home. District leaders say he had a few health scares in the past, but he was active and upbeat, even last week.
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