TJ Prendergast holding an award with trustees and chancellor

MISSION VIEJO, CA – On Wednesday, March 20, 2024, the Orange County School Boards Association's (OCSBA) presented longtime South Orange County Community College District (SOCCCD) Trustee, T.J. Prendergast, III with the prestigious Marian Bergeson Award for 2024.

The Marian Bergeson Award was established in 1974 to recognize school board members who promote and enhance public education through their leadership and community service. The award’s namesake, the late Marian Bergeson, was a well-known political figure, serving in the California State Assembly, the California State Senate, and the Orange County Board of Supervisors. She was also California’s Secretary of Education in the late 1990s.

TJ Prendergast holding a microphone, speaking

Trustee Prendergast was named this year’s winner because of his ongoing efforts to promote comprehensive services to students to include support for basic needs. His amplified advocacy to combat food insecurity and homelessness is celebrated through this award.

President of the Board, Timothy Jemal said, “Trustee Prendergast has been a relentless champion on the board for students experiencing hardships and has many times shared his personal experience as a student in need of housing and food support with us. Through his advocacy, services have been enhanced and illuminated for the benefit of students at both Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College.”

As a civics teacher and swimming coach at Beckman High School within the Tustin Unified School District, Trustee Prendergast understands that basic needs support can hinder a student’s long-term success. He continues to be a voice for students in need on the SOCCCD Board of Trustees as well as the Orange County School Board Association.

“The SOCCCD Board of Trustees are comprised of incredible people who care about the students we serve. Trustee Prendergast is no exception, as he takes every opportunity to stand firm on his commitment to supporting students in their overall success while they attend Saddleback or Irvine Valley College. He is beyond deserving of the Marian Bergeson Award,” said SOCCCD Chancellor, Julianna M. Asperin Barnes.  

Congratulations, Trustee Prendergast on this deserving recognition!

TJ Prendergast holding an award


About the South Orange County Community College District: SOCCCD serves nearly 50,000 students per year through our two colleges, Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College. The district serves nearly one million residents and employs more than 2,500 faculty and staff.

Read more at Meet the Trustees