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Diebert scores a runaway victory in school board race

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Madera Unified School District board candidate Gladys Diebert waves to the crowd as she participates in the 2022 Old Timers Day Parade while campaigning for office.


The race to represent area two on the Madera Unified school board in the November 8 general election was a runaway victory for Gladys Diebert over her opponents Alexis Raymundo and Brent Fernandes. Diebert secured almost twice as many votes as the other contenders combined.

The newest MUSD trustee garnered 1,051 tallies to Fernandes’ 350 and Raymundo’s 223.

Area two’s seat was the only one on the Madera Unified School District Governing Board that was contested on the November ballot. It belonged to board president Ed McIntyre who decided not to run for reelection.

Three other areas had open seats, but their representatives ran unopposed. Area 4 incumbent Joetta Fleak, Area 5 representative Lucy Salazar and Area 7 trustee Nadeem Ahmad all ran unopposed.

Diebert came to the voters with an impressive resume. She was born and raised in Lima Peru where she received her education. She earned a certificate in English from Cambridge University at the British Institute in Lima. She also earned a certificate in Early Childhood Education.

Diebert moved to the United States at the age of 21 with very little money but a suitcase filled with dreams. She worked as a waitress for a year and then found a job in an accounting office in Redwood City. She worked there for two years before she moved to Madera to work for a local accounting office.

She launched her career with Madera Unified in June 1989 as a resource aide for Sharon Cargill. In 1990 she became a bilingual clerk for Grady Billington. In 1991 she went to work at Alpha school, first as a cafeteria clerk and then as the school’s administrative assistant. She remained at Alpha for 15 years. In 2007 she became the administrative assistant in the district’s area assistant superintendents’ office (CAO).

In 2010 Gladys became the assistant to the associate superintendent of educational services. In 2012, Superintendent Gustavo Balderas hired her as his assistant and secretary to the school board. She continued in that role, which included working for Superintendent Todd Lile, from 2017 until she retired in 2021 after 32 years of service to the district. During that time, Gladys served 5 superintendents.

When asked to explain the huge margin of her victory over her opponents, Diebert responded, “I attribute my success in this election to a good plan that was carried out effectively by the hard work of a dedicated group of people with aggressive outreach.”

In terms of her plans for service, Diebert says she is counting on the continued good performance from Madera Unified’s strong and dedicated staff.

“The majority of its classified staff lives in Madera and I have noticed that more certificated staff are choosing Madera as their home,” Diebert observes. “Our Superintendent lives here as well. When you live and work in the same town, your ties to students and their families are stronger. You run into them at the grocery store, hardware store, dentist, doctor’s office, etc. Students see you as their role models; some want to be like you. You become their champion. This warms my heart.”

“We need to continue to build high expectations for our students,” Diebert maintains. “The higher we aim, the more our students will push themselves, but this is not only the work of the teacher and district staff, it takes collaboration between home and community members. Public and private sectors should support the educational journey of our children and parents by participating in school activities, volunteering and sharing their success stories.”

As the top vote-getter, Diebert has promised to all voters and the community in general to work hard to earn their trust over the next four years as a trustee.

Diebert is married. She and her husband have five children and eight grandchildren.


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