To the Editor:
I write to add my voice to so many others in the Berkeley community who celebrate Mary Friedman for her exemplary leadership as executive director of Berkeley Public Education Foundation. [Friedman, executive director of the Berkeley Public Education Foundation for 19 years, will retire Aug. 1.]
Mary's vision and leadership skills built an organization that united a community in the support and celebration of children and educators However, for all of her success in developing funding for Berkeley schools, she has accomplished much more.
In the process of raising millions of dollars for schools, teachers and children, Mary showed all of us that when our government fails to meet its obligations to provide for our most important needs, it is possible to make a vital difference in our community through direct citizen action. It takes endless commitment, and intelligence and a talent for working with others. It also requires the skill to build and staff an organization and imbue it with the capacity to carry on after her departure.
Mary Friedman's greatest legacy is that of model and mentor, demonstrating to others the path to successful leadership in community activism. In this capacity she serves not just Berkeley but all of Alameda County, for her talents, methods, and contributions are many, visible, and widely recognized. In the field of education, what greater honor can we bestow than to recognize someone as a master teacher. Mary Friedman has been that to all of us, and for that we are grateful.
County Superintendent of Schools