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  Dotty Martin Merrill (JanW)
Posted: 8:41:34 pm on 10/9/2011 Modified: 8:46:27 pm on 10/9/2011
After graduating from Will Rogers HS, I went to college at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The only person from 11-J that I’ve remotely kept in contact with has been Steve Hickerson, who played the piano at my first wedding…long ago divorced that one though we still keep in touch. Never should have gotten married in the first place. From Fayetteville, I moved to grad school at Indiana University then to Reno where I’ve lived since 1969…completing the M.A. [English] and Ed.D. [Educational Leadership] degrees in the early 1970s at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR).<BR> <BR>While working on the M.A., I met my current husband who then was a professor at UNR and chair of the English Department. It caused something of a stir at that time when an article appeared in the local newspaper about UNR professors and their “affairs” with graduate students. Probably wouldn’t raise any eyebrows today.<BR> <BR>It interested me to read the comments that Laura wrote about her daughter who felt “a calling” to teach at a Title I school. My parents always said that I knew I wanted to be a teacher, even before kindergarten. So—no surprise—that has been my career path. My first teaching job began in 1970 at the equivalent of a Title I high school here in Reno…taught English, sponsored the yearbook, and was Student Council advisor. Seems like only the teachers newest to the profession have the energy and commitment to do those things. During the years that I worked with the yearbook class, my husband helped proof the sports section, thank goodness, and ensured that the stats all made sense.<BR> <BR>Teaching English in those years was long before anyone thought about “common core standards” or “paced curriculum” so for ten years I was able to teach Protest Literature, Black Literature, and all kinds of creative writing courses called by various titles. From there I moved to teach at a high school that was in a somewhat more affluent part of Reno and taught there for five years, then became a high school administrator at what was supposedly the best high school in Reno. What impressed me there immediately was that the students did not appreciate anything that the teachers did with or for them, whereas the students at the other two high schools where I taught genuinely knew that they were getting something special from most of their teachers. It came as a shock to me personally to move from being a beloved teacher to being a hated administrator. It took me a while to become a beloved administrator.<BR> <BR>After serving as a high school administrator for twelve years, I became testing and accountability administrator for the Washoe County School District. Now those are two areas that almost everyone who teaches hates. I worked my way up the central office ladder to the position of superintendent of Public Policy, Accountability & Assessment by the end of that career, supervising everything from charter schools to breaches of test security to lobbying at the Nevada Legislature on behalf of the District and all kinds of areas in between.<BR> <BR>After working 35 years for the Washoe County School District and retiring in October 2006, I took the job of Executive Director for the Nevada Association of School Boards. One just never knows how life’s merry-go-round will cycle back again. Just like our junior and senior years at Will Rogers, I am now producing a monthly newsletter for school board members, superintendents, and others in Nevada’s public education community. And, although it is not technically a yearbook, we also produce an annual Directory of Nevada’s school board members and superintendents…with headshots and candid photos taken at functions during the prior year. Other aspects of my job include planning professional development activities for board members, maintaining the Association’s website, and developing the Association. So, although the tools of my profession are far different today from what we used as students in the 1960s and the intended impact is also much different, the work process and products themselves have decided similiarities to what we did in high school. I love my current job because I get to meet and work with elected officials who are dedicated to improving Nevada schools, in spite of staggering budget cuts and other serious challenges that seem almost insurmountable. <BR> <BR>Snippets:<BR>No kids. Two cats: Smiley and Karla. Husband plays high limit Texas hold’em. Several close friends who love to drink good red wine. Playing bridge as often as time allows. Learning how to knit again…seems like the part of my brain that used to know how to knit has atrophied. Enjoy going to auctions and picking up antique furniture for a song. Love to travel to England and Scotland…hoping one day to see Venice when flooded in winter. Enjoy going to ballets and musicals. A second home in the Palm Springs area where we hope to retire one day. Still buying shoes. While my grandmother was still alive, we often returned to Oklahoma/Arkansas…however, now we almost never return to Tulsa except to see my father on his birthday. Haven’t been to a high school reunion since 1976.
  Dotty Martin Merrill (tonybacher)
Posted: 11:34:02 am on 10/11/2011 Modified: Never
Dorothy (never got used to Dotty). I really enjoyed reading about what's been going on. It's been a long road since band at Wilson in the flute section. A couple of things caught my eye. The University of Indiana sits on land donated by three families, one of which was the Seward family. My grandmother's maiden name was Seward and in fact the cemetery by the student union has multiple graves with the Seward name on them. The weather vane on top of the student union was built in the Seward Foundry which I believe closed in the 70s. My parent's always wanted me to go there for grad school until my Dad found out how much it cost. OSU became a much better selection. Linda and I have a timeshare at the Marriott in Palm Springs which we visit on occasion. Next time we are there we will look you up. How are your two sisters doing? I loved harassing Martha all through Mrs Arnold's chemistry class. Sounds like you won't be making the reunion but hope you change your mind.

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