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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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Del Mar Union School DistrictCandidate for Board Member

Photo of Darren Gretler

Darren Gretler

Governing Board Member, Del Mar Union School District
6,513 votes (27.32%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY: Ensure we maintain a BALANCED BUDGET with HEALTHY RESERVES so we can preserve small class sizes and keep highly-trained teachers. Continue a budget discipline that will keep our District strong and stable over the long term.
  • EXCEPTIONAL EDUCATION: Continue providing top-notch education for EVERY student in the district. We have high-caliber teachers, meaningful integration of technology in classrooms, and curriculum that teaches real world critical thinking.
  • EFFECTIVE GOVERNANCE: Continue working productively with our strong and cohesive board of trustees. We represent independent perspectives and professions, but we are committed to what matters most - success for EVERY student.



Profession:Trustee, Del Mar Union School District; 17 years in Public Service - County of San Diego
Trustee, Governing Board of Trustees, Del Mar Union School District (2015–current)
Assistant Director, Department of Planning & Development Services, County of San Diego (2012–current)
Trustee, Governing Board of Trustees, Del Mar Union School District — Appointed position (2015–current)
Director, Board of Directors, San Diego North Chamber of Commerce — Appointed position (2011–current)
Chief, Building Division, Department of Planning & Land Use, County of San Diego (2005–2012)
Policy Advisor, County Supervisor Dianne Jacob (1999–2005)


San Diego State University (SDSU) Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), general (2014)
University of California San Diego (UCSD) Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), communication (1998)

Community Activities

Volunteer, Rady Children's Hospital (2015–current)

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Every member of the Del Mar Union School District Governing Board of Trustees
  • Teachers - Del Mar California Teachers Association
  • Current and Former County Supervisors representing Del Mar and Carmel Valley, Dave Roberts and Pam Slater-Price

Elected Officials (4)

  • Doug Rafner, President and Trustee, Del Mar Union School District Governing Board
  • Kristin Gibson, Board Clerk and Trustee, Del Mar Union School District Governing Board
  • Scott Wooden, Trustee and Former President, Del Mar Union School District Board of Trustees
  • Dianne Jacob, County Supervisor, California School Boards Association President, former teacher

Individuals (18)

  • Dave Roberts, County Supervisor serving Del Mar and Carmel Valley
  • Pam Slater-Price, Former District 3 County Supervisor representing Del Mar and Carmel Valley
  • Dee Rich, Former Trustee, DMUSD & San Dieguito Union High School District
  • Alan Kholos, Former Trustee, Del Mar Union School District Governing Board
  • Comischell Bradley-Rodriguez, Former Board President, Del Mar Union School District Governing Board
  • Lani Curtis, Former PTA Executive VP, Del Mar Heights School
  • Kate Lampe, Former PTA President, Del Mar Heights School
  • Sandra Holye, Former PTA President, Del Mar Hills School
  • Kate Takahashi, Former PTA President, Carmel Del Mar School
  • Robert & Muffie Knox, Community Members
  • Mary Farrell, Civic Leader
  • Jill MacDonald, Former Solana Beach School Board Member and Former President, Del Mar Foundation
  • Carolyn Perkins, Community Volunteer and Widow of Doug Perkins, Former DMUSD School Board Member
  • Suzanne Hall, Former DMSEF Board Member, Torrey Hills
  • Aimee Smith, Former DMSEF Board Member, Del Mar Heights
  • Neil Duhamel, Sage Canyon Parent
  • Ty Humes, Ocean Air Parent
  • Lori Laroque, Business Owner and Ashley Falls Parent

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California Education Fund (1)

A recent law made major changes in the way that the state allocates funding to schools.  What will you do to ensure that the public understands your local control formula for school spending and your plan to measure outcomes?
Answer from Darren Gretler:

The new law requires the District to incorporate community input on our priorities.  Happily, we have already been doing that for five years since the development of our Strategic Plan.  This plan is updated annually during a comprehensive series of meetings and working groups.  One priority is featured monthly in public board meetings with a full progress report and discussion.


Transparency is a cornerstone of good governance.  Our board has focused on providing clear and accessible information about our budget and priorities.

Questions from League of Women Voters of North County San Diego (1)

What is the most significant challenge facing the Del Mar Union School District, and if you are elected, what steps will you take to address it?
Answer from Darren Gretler:

It is critical that we retain sufficient financial reserves so that in a downturn we can PRESERVE CLASS SIZES, RETAIN our highly-trained TEACHERS, and MAINTAIN OUR PROPERTY VALUES.  Our board keeps a close eye on our expense structure and is strategic in resource allocation.  We have a stable financial framework that ensures we can provide high-quality education now and into the future.


In contrast to most school districts, our funding comes mostly from local property taxes rather than the state.  That means we have more dollars per student and we are able to provide an unrivaled level of instruction.  It also means that if property tax revenue decreases, our revenue decreases with it.

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