John Philip Glaser passed away at his home in Napa on Monday morning, July 5th, 2021 after a 12-year battle with multiple myeloma. He was 72. The son of Barbara Miller Glaser and Joseph Glaser, John was born in Denver, Colorado on June 10th, 1949. He did his undergraduate studies in English Literature at Stanford University, where he met his wife Carol Glaser (née Boone). They married in 1972. Glaser earned a Masters in Education at Harvard University and a Doctorate of Education at UC Berkeley. From 2003 to 2010, Glaser served as the Superintendent of the Napa Valley Unified School District. While he was superintendent, the American Canyon High School was conceived and finished, a project that he held close to his heart.
He began his career in education, as well as his love of nurturing creativity in youth, as an English teacher at the Western Reserve Academy in Ohio and then went on to hold the position of Community Schools Director for the Manteca Unified School District. Glaser moved to Napa with his family in 1977 to direct Project Concerned, a program run by the County Office of Education that supported the training of retirees as tutors throughout Napa County. Soon after moving, he and Carol were among the founders of Sunrise Montessori in Napa. From 1980 to 1985 he served as the Principal of Temescal High School (now Valley Oak). He became the director of Employer-Employee Relations for the Napa Valley Unified School District in 1985 and, alongside diverse colleagues, established a precedent of equity and trust in district labor relations. In 1989, he was named Assistant Superintendent of Schools for the NVUSD.
In 1992, Glaser left the school district for 11 years to pursue work as a consultant, during which time he shared his approach to leadership with other school districts and cities. He was a founding member of CFIER (California Foundation for Improvement of Employer-Employee Relations) as well as Glaser and Associates, in which he worked side-by-side with Carol. They continued their work full-time until he returned to NVUSD as superintendent of schools. From 1998 to 2001, Glaser was an associate professor of Organizational Leadership at the University of La Verne’s doctoral program. His book, Leading Through Collaboration: Guiding Groups to Productive Solutions, was published in 2004. Following his retirement as NVUSD Superintendent, Glaser continued to mentor superintendents throughout California as a facilitator and Policy Fellow with the California Superintendents Collaborative Network based at UC Davis. Glaser also worked on affordable housing with the City of Napa.
In both his career and his personal relationships, Glaser was deeply committed to effective problem solving, thoughtful listening and continued learning. His children, grandchildren and the many people he mentored throughout the years often sought his wise counsel and guidance. He will be remembered for his gentle way, his strong values, his fierce editing and his great sense of humor. A life-long swimmer, John was on the swim team at Stanford and loved the outdoors. He was an Eagle Scout and an appreciator of a good backpacking trip. He treasured his extended international family, from his Swedish AFS brother to the students he and Carol hosted in Napa.
He is survived by his wife Carol Boone Glaser, his sister Besty Nevin, his brother Jay Glaser, his daughters, Amelia Glaser and Bronwyn Glaser, his sons in law, Eran Mukamel and Tiziano Borgo, and his four grandchildren, Leila Glaser Borgo, Teo Glaser Borgo, Lior Glaser Mukamel, and Mirah Glaser Mukamel.
An outdoor, masked memorial service will take place on Monday, July 12th, 2021 at 10am, Tulocay Cemetery, Napa. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation https://themmrf.org.
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