Sunday, October 1, 2023

Q & A with Gerri Machin, CUSD School Board Candidate

The Coronado Times is conducting short interviews with all candidates for Coronado Unified School District board of trustees. All candidates have received the same six questions and the answers are in their own words; each candidate is invited to share photos; interviews are published in the order received. November 8, 2022 is election day.

Q: What experience will you bring to the school board?

A: I have nearly 10 years teaching experience working with preschool through middle school children in both public and private schools. I attended and graduated from a California public high school and university. My four children attended or are currently attending public school and I have volunteered regularly in the classroom. I served on the board and several committees of a private institution. Perhaps most importantly, I have attended almost every CUSD School Board meeting the past 18 months as a concerned parent. I observed the need to stand up for common sense solutions to complex issues. Finally, as a proud Islander mom I am firmly grounded in the value of strong families.

Q: In your mind, what are the biggest challenges facing CUSD today?

A: CUSD must have a governing board that values accountability to parents and focuses on the number one job of educators: dramatically improve educational outcomes for all our students.

Q: What is something CUSD does well?

A: There are many excellent teachers in CUSD who not only teach well, but care deeply about our children.

Q: How do you feel about local control?

A: Local Control is essential because those most affected: our parents, teachers and school board have the greatest understanding of the unique needs of Coronado students, facilities, and budgetary needs. “One-size fits all” policies can detract from our district’s excellence. Through local control, we can improve accountability, help ensure grade level proficiency in core subjects, and can maintain our facilities properly.

Q: What is your stance on social-emotional learning? Do you think that teaching children empathy, responsible decision making and emotional awareness is important in schools?

A: Core values are best taught in the home. Clearly, excellent teachers must model good behavior and must establish and maintain a positive atmosphere conducive to learning. That said, teachers are hired to teach. They are not trained to be therapists, social workers or clergy. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) must not replace or encroach on precious minutes devoted to the core subjects: reading, writing, math, science and history.

Q: As you must be aware, school board meetings can be contentious, but it’s important for board members to work together. Do you think you are good at building consensus? Please provide an example if possible.

I prefer communicating with others in a reasoned, non-contentious manner. Over the years, I have learned to work with my grade level team, coworkers, board members and my family. That said, I am not afraid to enter into respectful debate and to ask difficult questions. Just ask my husband!

More information about the candidate can be found at




Christine Van Tuyl
Christine Van Tuyl
Christine was born and raised in Texas, but moved to Coronado with her family as a teen in 1993. Although initially horrified by surfers, flannels and skateboards, she ultimately grew to love all things So-Cal. A graduate of UCSD, Christine got her first writing job on the KUSI ten o’clock news while simultaneously juggling a reporter position at the San Diego Community News Group. She worked as a public relations professional, a book editor, real estate professional, and a freelance writer before eventually succumbing to motherhood in 2008.A decade later, Christine resurfaced to start the Island Girl Blog, a Coronado lifestyle blog. In addition, she writes a monthly page for Crown City Magazine. Christine loves hanging out with her husband, Ian, and their two spirited daughters, Holland and Marley, who attend Village Elementary and Coronado Middle School. When she’s not working, you’ll find her practicing yoga, spilling coffee at school drop off, meeting friends for sushi, or sailing the Bay with her family and English Bulldog, Moshi. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]