Mary Boger

Mary Boger at the Glendale Unified School District administrative offices (File Photo / July 11, 2014)

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When Mary Boger adjourns her last Glendale Unified board meeting on Aug. 12, she will leave behind a legacy more than 30 years in the making.

The longtime school board member announced she’d leave with eight months short of her last term, saying an autoimmune illness has made it too difficult to contribute to the school board.

Days after tearfully telling the public of her decision Tuesday, Boger knew she made the right choice.

“Sometimes life hurls curveballs at you. I just decided instead of taking a strike, I was going to work with this curveball and see if I couldn’t get a double or a triple out of it,” she said.

Boger, 68, was appointed to the board after Jeanne Bentley’s sudden death in 2002. She ran successfully in 2003, 2007 and 2011.

“You get on the board and you see the needs,” Boger said. “Each time [I’ve run], it’s been because there are some difficult decisions to make.”

Her involvement in Glendale schools began years prior when Boger married her husband Donald. In 1980, they blended their families together, and she joined the PTA, at first baking cookies and attending carnivals.

She went on to serve as Glendale High’s PTA president, then headed the Glendale Council PTA. Along the way, she volunteered with National Charity League, Boy Scouts, the YWCA and Glendale Healthy Kids, among other organizations.

She also served on the Crescenta Valley Prom Plus committee, the CV Fireworks committee and Adelante Latinos — a group to recognize Latino students in Glendale schools.

She was once referred to by former News-Press education reporter and columnist Megan O’Neil as “Glendale’s fairy godmother.”

Boger admits the greatest challenge on the board has been a fiscal one, serving at a time of unprecedented budget cuts to education. As the state plots its way to a slow financial recovery, she’s proud the district never let its teachers go.

Since announcing her resignation, “People have said to me I was a spokesman of the children of the district,” she said. “I’m going to miss it terribly but I also know it was the right thing. I’ve grown as a person and I think I always brought to the job the right attitude and right values.”

In August, the Glendale school board will decide if they will call a special election or appoint someone to the board, and the new member could be sworn in by Oct. 7.

For now, Boger has one last meeting to run as president. In the upcoming months, she’ll move into a new home she and her husband bought in New Bedford, Mass. where she’ll read novels, decorate and “do absolutely nothing,” she joked.

“I know Mary truly loved the students and the teachers,” said fellow school board member Greg Krikorian. “If any parent or any teacher, any student any…American would want a board member to represent them, I’d want Mary on that board of education. If I had one board member, it’s her I’d want.”