Mowbray, LaConte top candidates for school board

The Claremont COURIER endorses Sam Mowbray and Hilary LaConte in the Tuesday, November 8th election of the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education.


Sam Mowbray

Sam Mowbray was a board member during some very fine years for CUSD and it is our belief that his insight into bond measures, operations and curriculum is gravely needed at this critical time. His leadership, experience and vision will serve the district well.

Mr. Mowbray leapt ahead of his competition during this school board race with his understated confidence and knowledge of the schools, the district and the community. He has a deep understanding of individual school cultures, worked tirelessly on developing the Youth and Family Master Plan and has been a stalwart supporter for Claremont youth for decades.

The board needs to select a long-term superintendent who supports the community’s vision. Current infighting within the board and recent significant changes among administrative staff will make it very difficult to secure the type of superintendent we want and need. Mr. Mowbray should be at the forefront of negotiations when the arduous task of finding a permanent superintendent arises. With his straightforward approach, we are confident that Mr. Mowbray can help restore dignity to the board and the district.

Hilary LaConte

Hilary LaConte was the only candidate to be endorsed by the Claremont Faculty Association and the Claremont chapter of the California School Employees Association. She is a trusted face in CUSD and has a passion for public education in Claremont. Her ability to tackle issues reasonably while considering the input of others is of benefit to the district.

Ms. LaConte has a long relationship with CUSD. She attended Claremont schools as a child, became a teacher at Vista del Valle Elementary School and is now a parent, board member and volunteer in the district.

Currently, Ms. LaConte is focused on seeing the Claremont High School Theatre Renovation Project come to fruition. Her guidance is needed now to help ensure that the project is realized.

As a result of her passion for and knowledge of education, Ms. LaConte has a good feel for what is needed to enhance learning for CUSD students. If elected to a second term, the COURIER encourages her to follow her instincts and be firmer with her convictions. The district needs her continued leadership.

Joe Farrell

The COURIER applauds Joe Farrell for his fervor and for his expressed commitment to bringing out the best practices in Claremont public education. He has good ideas on how to improve student achievement and isn’t afraid to ask hard questions. He is very methodical about how to recognize the needs for improvement and thinks seriously about what steps are required to meet the students’ needs. It would behoove the current board to objectively consider some of his ideas.

Mr. Farrell became politically active in Claremont soon after his arrival in August 2010 as a member of Claremont Taxpayers for Common Sense—the main group opposed to Measure CL. Mr. Farrell has regularly attended school board meetings and has publicly shared his views about the current direction of CUSD.

He brings 10 years of school board experience from Connecticut, however, the limited time he has had to become acquainted with the community is a concern. Claremont can be a precarious community for a newcomer to navigate and, unfortunately, his one-year residency is not enough time to truly understand the intricate facets of Claremont.

Mr. Farrell needs more time to immerse himself in the city, not only to familiarize himself with the residents, but also to allow the community to better understand his positions. He has become somewhat of a polarizing force this election cycle, and his presence on an already unstable board may not be of benefit to the district.

When the time is right, we are certain that Mr. Farrell will have an opportunity to make important contributions to the district and the community.

Sue Keith

In the Citrus College Area 2 board trustee race, the COURIER endorses incumbent Sue Keith. Ms. Keith has been on the board for 12 years, and her knowledge of Citrus College and ability to adapt to ever changing student needs will make her a fitting representative of the cities of Claremont, Azusa, La Verne and Pomona.

Ms. Keith has not become complacent in her position as a trustee but instead continues to act towards the good of Citrus College’s present and future. We are confident she will continue to do so if elected to a 4th term.


Our hope for the immediate future is that the Claremont Unified School District board gathers its bearings and works toward creating a healthier environment for our students, parents and district staff.

Election day is Tuesday, November 8th.

—COURIER editorial staff


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