It’s not too often that a school district says goodbye to a board member who’s served more than three decades. And it’s all the more rare to bid farewell to two trustees who have each logged 30-plus years on the same board.
Yet that’s the case in the Fullerton Joint Union High School District, which this week honored a pair of retiring board members who have a combined 71 years of service at the dais.
Robert N. Hathaway was first elected to the board in 1985 and has served as its president seven times. His longtime colleague, Dr. Robert A. Singer, goes all the way back to 1980, giving him the longest term in the 125-year history of the Fullerton Joint Union High School District. He has eight terms as president.
Together, these twin pillars of FJUHSD were affectionately referred to as the two Bobs during a ceremony on Monday night — or, as one speaker said, “Bob squared.”
“I think back how much our world has changed since 1980,” Superintendent Scott Scambray said. “There were no personal computers. And all the adaptations that we have had to make in doing what is best for the kids. … We truly appreciate everything you have done here.”
Singer, an engineer who worked for Hughes and Raytheon, is an instructor at Cal State Fullerton, according to the district’s website. He has served as a member of the California Schools Boards Association’s Delegate Assembly for 16 years, and in 2013 he earned the Orange County School Boards Association’s highly regarded Marian Bergeson Award.
Along with a bachelor’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, Singer holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in electrical engineering, both from Stanford University.
Hathaway has been an engineer, an attorney and an instructor at the University of Phoenix. He’s been a member of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and has served as a board member with North Orange County ROP for 26 years.
Hathaway has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from New York University, a law degree from Lasalle University and a master’s degree in education from the University of Southern California.
Friends, family, colleagues and local dignitaries lined up before board Monday’s regular board meeting to praise the two Bobs and their decades-spanning commitment to Fullerton’s public schools.
“I would like to tell you that it has been an absolutely pleasure to know and to work with these two men for so many years,” current Board President Marilyn Buchi said. “And I will tell you that our district will be poorer with the departure of these brilliant, ethical, honorable gentlemen who always make decisions in the best interest of the students.”