Spencer E. Covert of Fullerton, former superintendent of the Magnolia Elementary School District in Anaheim and Stanton, died Monday at Wilshire Convalescent Hospital in Fullerton after a long illness. He was 69.
Covert became superintendent of the Magnolia District in 1964, when the district was embroiled in controversy over a first-grade reading program installed by then Supt. Charles Wilson. At the time, enrollment in the district had dropped 40% in 14 years.
During Covert's tenure as superintendent, he eased conflict by working closely with school principals, allowing them to select their own first-grade reading programs, according to newspaper accounts. He resigned in 1978 along with several other district officials but insisted he had not been pressured into stepping down.
Before taking the Orange County position, Covert had served as superintendent of the Compton Elementary School District.
His civic activities included serving on the executive and advisory councils of the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America. He was president of the Compton Kiwanis and a member of the Kiwanis in Anaheim.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Anne; three children--Lucinda Covert-Veil of San Francisco, Spencer E. Covert Jr. of Santa Ana, and Eddison Covert of Davis--and four grandchildren.
The family requests that donations in his name be made to the Anaheim Independencia Community Center, a nonprofit agency he helped found.
A memorial service is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday at the Neels Brea Mortuary, 835 S. Brea Blvd., Brea. A private burial will take place on Friday.