State your full name and age.
My name is Robin Graham Merkley and I am 59 years old.
State your occupation.
I am a community volunteer and a homemaker.
How many years have you lived in Glendora?
My husband and I have lived in Glendora for over 29 years, and have raised all five of our children here, ranging in ages from 20-28.
Have you ever held an elected office before? If so, what position, where and when?
I have never held an elected position before (except for PTA officer positions and Glendora Community Coordinating Council executive positions).
What are your qualifications for running for school board?
Here are my qualifications:
Personal educational background: I have a BS from East Texas State University (now Texas A&M Commerce) in Vocational Home Economics and an MA in Education from Cal Poly, Pomona.
Professional background: I taught school full time for two years and have been a regular substitute teacher for over 10 years. And, most importantly, ran a household of five children who are each on their way to their own successes as adults. With a one-salary family, I am very experienced with budgeting and living within my means, which will be a benefit in the fiscal decisions required of a school board member.
Experience with school district administration: I have served on the Calendar, Budget, and Attendance committees at Glendora Unified School district. I presently serve on the Bond Oversight Committee as the Chairman, and have done so for many years. Through this service, I have come to a greater knowledge of the what, the why, and the how of operating a school district. I was on the Budget Committee during the recession and saw the distress of the superintendent as cuts were being made. Our goal was to keep the cuts as far away from the classroom as possible, but after a certain point, those cuts affected the students. During that time, I was also on the 7-11 committee, which voted to close Williams Elementary. We agonized over that decision, but it was the best for the District.
Leadership experience: I served as PTA president at Williams Elementary School, Glendora High School, Whitcomb High School (even though I had no child attending there) and Glendora Council (the PTA that oversees all of the school PTAs in Glendora). In these positions, I learned how much the administration cares about and are invested in Glendora Unified School District. As president, I have learned how to work with those who have differing views, how to build consensus in the group, and how to look at issues from each point of view to come up with a balanced, fair solution while keeping the interests of the children front and center.
Passion for education: As a parent, I have volunteered in each of my children’s classrooms when they were in elementary school. I learned how hard teachers work and their passion for the education of each of their students. My experience with the school district personnel has taught me how much the administration cares about and are invested in Glendora Unified School District. I am in the classroom of different schools as a substitute teacher and see the hard work and successes that happen. I volunteer in various positions in the community, which helps me become familiar with many different people with different viewpoints that will help me to approach education-related issues from all perspectives. Education is my passion and I especially love Glendora schools, as all five of my children graduated from Glendora High School.
What do you consider the biggest issue(s) facing the district?
Here are the issues from my point of view:
Schools in California are underfunded and GUSD needs to continue to advocate for more of our taxpayer dollars to come back home to educate our students.
Our schools need to be a safe environment for our children to attend each day.
We need to stay at pace with technology through any funding source available.
We need to be sure the District hires the brightest and the best certificated and classified employees.
We need to continue with District of Choice. The schools’ funding comes from kids in the seats, not just an allotment from the taxpayer. Declining enrollment due to the demographic of our area continues and has caused us to close an elementary school and I have directly participated the difficulties of closing a school and want to do all possible to not have to repeat that process. Lately, we are seeing new families move into the District and hopefully this trend will continue and we can begin to turn that trend around.
We need to continue to find ways to involve parents in the education of their children. We are fortunate to have a heritage of strong PTA support in Glendora and I want to see that continue. I will encourage wider participation of parents in GUSD committees, including the Local Control Funding reviews and the Four Year College Going Culture committee. The more parents are involved in all areas of their children’s education, the better the children perform.
Name three qualities you have that make you the candidate of choice.
These are the three qualities that make me the candidate of choice:
Fair minded and balanced from my experience in teaching, parenting, and working with administration of the school district
Strong leader with proven experience in community organizations
Dedicated and hard working with a passion for the education of Glendora’s children
How do you plan to work with the school board to overcome the issues facing the district?
I will thoroughly research the issues as they come up and bring a viewpoint that considers the teachers and school administration in addition to the needs of the students as I work with the school board. I serve because I value children and the education they receive and will work with the other school board members to help Glendora continue to be the best.