When Mary Boger adjourned the Glendale Unified school board meeting Tuesday, she closed the chapter of her 12 years of service as a board member and volunteer with the PTA.
On Tuesday, many parents, teachers and district staff honored Boger during both a reception and the regular school board meeting.
“I hope I have made you all feel appreciated. I hope I have offered you the support you deserved,” she said at the conclusion of the board meeting.
Boger left fellow board members with three pieces of advice, the first of which was related to an ongoing issue with the La Cañada Unified School District. Boger has for several months been vocal in her opposition to a transfer of students from the Sagebrush area from Glendale's school system into the La Cañada district.
“No. 1. Do not give up Sagebrush,” Boger said. “No. 2. Remember that Prop. 30 has a cliff. Watch out for it. That funding, if it is anything like funding we've received in the past, may very likely simply go away,” she said. “And No. 3. The city of Glendale is on a building spree and has given a free hand for development, so you better plan carefully.”
She went on to thank voters for passing the school district's bonds in the past, and said she will miss certain plans coming to fruition, such as a new building for College View School, which is currently under construction.
“I am more grateful than I would ever have the words to express, and I so appreciate that you all care about all of our kids, and I thank you for sharing in the responsibility for caring for those 26,000 students in this district,” she added.
Boger was first appointed to the board in 2002 and won reelection in 2003, 2007 and 2011. But in July, months short of her term completing in April, she announced that an ongoing illness made it too difficult for her to commit “100%” to the position, which she felt it deserved.
She and her husband are also planning to move to New Bedford, Mass., later this year.
She announced her resignation in July, surprising many in the school community.
Among the well-wishers at the reception preceding the meeting was College View School parent Azita Fatheree, who thanked Boger for advocating for special-needs students. Severely disabled students attend College View.
“As a parent of a child that has special needs, I think we look at our children through rose-colored glasses,” she said. “We see how beautiful they are, we see how unique they are, we see how fabulous they are, and we really love and appreciate you because you see them that way also, and that's why you fight for them, and spent countless hours advocating for them.”
Phyllis Ishisaka, executive assistant to Glendale Unified Supt. Dick Sheehan, told Boger she was among the best elected officials she had ever worked for in her 20 years of working for city and school officials.
“You're here for all the right reasons and that's why I admire you,” she said.
School board member Armina Gharpetian likened Boger to being “the mom on the board,” and board member Christine Walters said she latched onto Boger in her first days on the board as if Boger was her “mother duckling.”
School board member Greg Krikorian, who has often called Boger his “big sister,” said he appreciates the guidance she's given him over the years.
“You've really helped me as a man, as a father, as a board member,” he said.
Then his voice cracked, and in tearing up, he paused. He removed an amulet from his coat pocket given to him by a woman in an Armenian village who said it had safekeeping qualities. He told Boger, through tears, to hang it somewhere in her new home for protection.
“I will,” Boger said, giving Krikorian a hug.