Robyn Gilbert is a mother of 3 boys, freelance graphic designer, and a resident of Bala Cynwyd for the last 8 years. She is passionate about the quality of education, safety in the schools, and the parents’ rights to be involved in their children’s education.
Of all the influences in a child’s life, that of the parents is the most significant. This is why it is imperative that the schools and the families partner together to provide a well-rounded and supportive educational environment for the children. This means open discourse, receptivity to all ideas and concerns, and complete transparency on behalf of the schools and administration. Robyn has been concerned with the current school board’s track record of dismissing or ignoring parental input, and she is on a mission to change that. Increased collaboration between families and schools can create the “village” that supports and raises children into happy, successful adults.
Robyn has a master’s in education and taught for several years in the School District of Philadelphia. This familiarity has shaped her perspective on the education system and brings valuable teaching experience to the table.
Why are you running for school board?
I am very concerned about the current School Board due to their lack of transparency: Both fiscal and through policies that reinforce division between students and their parents. Most importantly, I am troubled by their apparent lack of regard for parental voices and opinions, which they demonstrated by shutting down those who bravely chose to speak out at school board meetings. I don't feel that this district is being run with the best interests of the students and taxpayers in mind, and since my children are entering the district this fall, my need to be of service in this area has become more pronounced.
What are the most important issues facing your district?
The "Save Oakwell" movement (fight over natural land being used for District purposes), full day Kindergarten, and start times seem to be the more overt topics discussed by the community at large, however we know that there are much greater issues that aren't getting as much attention. Those are safety within the schools, academic performance seems to be declining year over year, and the rights of parents to be involved in their childrens' education. These issues all stem from a governing body that acts in coherence with one another because there are no dissenting opinions to help to steer the decisions in a more centrist direction.
What is your professional background/experience? What skills would you bring to the board?
Firstly, I am a parent of 3 young boys. The passion, love, and skills it takes to run a family can be applied to the district's children overall. I am also a trained educator with classroom experience. I earned my Masters in Elementary Education at Temple University and taught in The School District of Philadelphia for 3 years.
Have you run for political office previously? Have you been politically active?
No, this is the first time I'm running for political office. I vote regularly, and have made a lobbying visit to Harrisburg in the past. So essentially, I have been very minimally political up until now.
Are you running with other candidates?
There are 5 Republican candidates, and while we are not technically running together, we are all collaborating and supporting one another.
What is the most important role of the school board in your opinion?
The most important role is to ensure that the children are getting the best possible education that they can get in a safe environment.