Marilyn Blake is retiring for the third time -- but she's not ready to take it completely easy.
Blake, 76, has been the interim chief administrative officer and superintendent-principal at the El Nido Elementary School District for three years. She said she's resigning under doctor's orders.
El Nido trustees were interviewing four superintendent-principal candidates out of 45 applicants Thursday and today. While Blake said hiring her replacement is up to the board, she hopes a replacement will be in place by the end of the month.
Since she has resigned, Blake said she's working on an hourly basis at El Nido to keep things going. She expects to brief her replacement once that person is hired.
Amy Hath, chairman of the El Nido school board, said Blake has dedicated her life to education and will be missed. The rural district has 167 students from kindergarten through eighth grade.
"Her knowledge of school finances has been critical to El Nido," Hath said, "with budget cuts at the state level. She's a tremendous asset for our school. She has been instrumental in bringing grants to the school, including a computer lab and after-school program."
Hath said it's important for El Nido trustees to take their time and make sure they find the right person.
Blake, a Merced resident, was married to an Air Force officer and worked in Morocco while he was stationed there. After raising her children, she started out 30 years ago in the Winton School District, going from yard duty to school secretary, cafeteria supervisor, administrative assistant and ultimately chief budget officer.
After retiring from that post after about nine years, Blake returned for another year and a half when her replacement quit. That's when El Nido trustees asked her to become a consultant there.
"This will be my third retirement. I've done everything for the school district except teach a class and drive a bus," Blake said, laughing. "You've got to keep moving."
Blake said she loves to travel and has been to all 50 states, the South Pacific and Africa. She said she might still do a little educational consulting, with offers in the works.
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at
(209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.