With the November 8 election day swiftly approaching, Upper Dublin Patch is on a mission to inform its readers about the background and stances of every single candidate running for office in our township.
We'll present two pieces on every candidate: first an interview on their personal background, followed by a second to find out their viewpoint on key issues. To find which ward you're in, click here.
Debbie Mendelson is one of four incumbents who, along with three challenging candidates, are vying for five open spots on the Upper Dublin Board of School Directors. In , in which all candidates crossfiled as both Democrat and Republican, Mendelson garned the most votes (19.97%) on the Democratic ballot and the the third most votes (14.66%) on the Republican ballot.
Upper Dublin Patch: What publicly elected offices have you held, and for how long?
Debbie Mendelson: I have served two consecutive terms as a School Board Director since 2003.
UDP: Can you take a moment to tell our readers a bit about yourself-- where you're from, your education, and your professional and personal achievements?
DM: I grew up in the Philadelphia area and moved to Upper Dublin from Abington in 1985. We chose UD because of the excellent reputation of its school system. I earned my B.S. in Education at Penn State and M.A. in Reading at Temple University. I worked as a classroom teacher for four years and a Reading Specialist for three year in Wissahickon.
While my sons were growing up, I tutored and started a home based window treatment business. During the 16 years my sons were students, I was actively involved in both school and district committees. I returned to teaching in 2001 at a private school for children with language based learning challenges. My work and my service to the school district have fulfilled my personal and professional goal – to help others.
UDP: Where do you place yourself on the political spectrum? Are there any key philosophies or issues you hold most important?
DM: I am not politically inclined. I make my decisions by asking questions, seeking input, looking at data and drawing conclusions about what would make the most sense. I am guided by two sayings my father used when I was seeking his advice in making decisions: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and “Can you live with that?” In the current economic climate, it will be more difficult to live with some of the tough decisions but I will always consider how the decisions will impact both students and the community.
UDP: Why is it important to you to remain in office?
DM: I am running for re-election because there are many changes/improvements that have been initiated during my service and I want to make sure they succeed. I bring various perspectives to the board. I am the one candidate who has extensive knowledge of curriculum and the importance of a proper foundation in reading in the early years.
I am a taxpayer who no longer has children in the schools. I am a property owner who wants to make sure my home remains marketable and valued. I know the children in our schools will be taking care of the world in which I grow old. I understand that a board doesn’t stand a chance of success if it doesn’t include the stakeholders in making decisions.
I don’t have to be brought up to speed, which took several years in spite of all I thought I knew about education. The most important reason I am running is to maintain the success of our district and to ensure that future decisions are made by a well-rounded knowledgeable board that base their decisions on sound educational thinking, knowing that our financial resources continue to be limited.
Stick with Patch as we continue to speak with candidates. Click for previous interviews. Incumbents in bold.
Upper Dublin Township Commissioners
Ward 1: (R), (D)
Ward 5: (D), (R)
Ward 7: (R), (D)
UDSD School Board
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Magisterial District Judge