Readers comments: 10-16 school board and Citrus College

Thank you, board candidates

Dear Editor:

Thank you CUSD school board candidates Kathy Archer, Bob Fass and Chris Natacchia for Zooming with our Sixth Grade CORE (Claremont Online Remote Education) class.

On three separate days, following some opening remarks, each candidate answered 10 to 15 questions from a class of 11- and 12-year-old students. After analyzing each candidate’s campaign website, looking at COURIER interviews and other online sources, students were ready to ask questions, including the following:

• What makes you stand out from the other two candidates?

• On your website you claim you want to support teachers. How will you do that?

• What can the board do to help end racism in our schools?

Students then analyzed the answers and formulated overall opinions of the candidates. There was a clear favorite among the students. However, those opinions only came only after each student spent over an hour researching each candidate and listening to their 30- to 45-minute presentations.

I am truly thankful to work in a district where, as Chris Naticchia stated, “Teachers are allowed and empowered to be creative in what they teach.”

All three candidates seemed to me as though they would make good board members, but if you don’t have the four to five hours to research whom to vote for, you might want to ask one of the students in the sixth grade CORE class.

Joe Tonan

CUSD teacher


Naticchia for education

Dear Editor:

Out of all the words, flyers, mailers and ads concerning the school board election, there is one document that stands out. Chris Naticchia wrote a viewpoint for the COURIER last December pointing out how dependent our district is on out of district enrollment (26 percent of Claremont students transfer from surrounding districts). The district receives state money for them. Yet neighboring districts are experiencing declining enrollments and so are stopping approving transfers, and thus money, from their communities to Claremont.

Since Claremont birthrates are very unlikely to increase, the only solution to prevent declining enrollments is to attract more families with children to live in Claremont. That means we must increase our housing stock within the affordable range in order to have such families move here.

That argument shows that Chris is making a connection between our local education system and the larger world, in this case the district’s home community. His candidacy for the school board is not based upon the idea that all CUSD needs is a few tweaks to continue its search for excellence. The board must be attentive to developments that fall outside the orthodox concern with the details of the functioning of our schools.

That is not the only recognition that can be found in Chris’ campaign. The country is moving in the direction of a more fair distribution of opportunity for disadvantaged groups. Claremont schools will not be able to avoid taking into account how they can prepare our students to live in a world in which the central American value of equality becomes more fully realized in practice.

Mr. Naticchia’s program has one of its chief features providing Claremont students with an increased understanding of what equality among ethnic and racial groups amounts to.

Our democracy is under attack by the rise of authoritarianism. That means we have not done enough in educating our young people to implant in them a sufficient understanding of what democratic practices involve. The Naticchia campaign has a significant focus on inculcating democratic ideals from an early age.

Chris stands out among the three candidates as the only one who is deeply attentive to the need to relocate Claremont’s school system in a changing world. He calls for re-imagining what education must be for our students to prosper in the quite different country that is coming to be. The school board needs a distinctive perspective that only Chris Naticchia represents.

Merrill Ring



Vote for Kathy Archer

Dear Editor:

I have the privilege of being the honorary co-chair for Kathy Archer’s campaign for election to the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education. I have known Kathy for many years as a family friend, teacher, parent and community volunteer. Kathy has a track record of collaborative solutions, thoughtful dialogue, and critical decision-making.

I know that Kathy will work diligently to return students and faculty back to the classroom safely, ensuring that every student has the access and support they need to achieve their individual academic success when they return.

As a longtime Claremont business owner and community volunteer I enthusiastically endorse and support Kathy Archer for CUSD school board.

Please take a few moments to view her website at to learn more. 

Joan Bunte



Archer is dedicated

Dear Editor:

When I was a high school student I was appointed to sit on the school board of my local high school. It was then that I realized just how much power the school board has to implement change. Even more importantly, it mattered who was on that school board.

After 16 years in education with CUSD, I would call myself qualified to identify candidates that our school board needs. Classroom teachers have a unique relationship with board members: publicly they visit our classrooms, approve our salaries, and hear our presentations at official board meetings. Privately they listen, investigate, and support the learning community as a whole. 

After researching and looking at the platforms of the candidates up for election on November 3, I can without hesitation recommend Kathy Archer.

While other candidates have placed timely and polarizing topics front and center of their campaign, Kathy is committed to being an “all weather” school board member. She will fight and support those key issues through thoughtful investigation and procedure. However, more than anything, she is prepared for the core of the job: being a team player while supporting the mission and vision of CUSD.

She is prepared for the fiscal challenges that will face public education in the coming years. She will fight for equity. She will listen and communicate. She wants both wellness and safety at our school sites.

With a background of boots on the ground and years of secondary education experience, she is the woman I want on Claremont’s school board.

Natalie Sieg



Salas has knowledge, experience

Dear Editor:

As a lifelong resident of Claremont and college professor, I wanted the community to know why I am supporting Joe Salas to be our next member of the Citrus College Board of Trustees.

Joe and I have known each other for decades. We attended Sycamore, El Roble and Claremont High School together. From a very young age, Joe and I have been fighting to create a voice for Black and Latino members of our respective student bodies. Joe’s passion for equity has continued through his work in some of the most underserved communities in Los Angeles and San Bernardino.

Joe will carry that same passion for creating a voice for marginalized communities at Citrus College.

These are unconventional and challenging times, and Joe has the character, and temperament, to navigate the hardships that higher education is experiencing. Joe’s vision is one in which I would want my children to learn.

He wants to diversify the staff, faculty and administrators at Citrus College, because he knows that equity truly means creating additional services for groups and individuals who need that extra support to be successful.

Joe is advocating for the building of on-campus student housing for those who are experiencing homelessness. It’s ideas like these that are exactly what we need for students who are struggling with housing insecurity.

Joe’s unique experience of teaching in the classroom and serving on city and county commissions are exactly the right mix of knowledge and experience we need on the Citrus College Board of Trustees.

Please join me in supporting and voting for Joe Salas.

Peter Harper



Joe Salas for Citrus

Dear Editor:

I am voting for Joe Salas for the Citrus College Board of Trustees.

Joe has made education not just a career, but he treats education as his life’s calling.

He is currently serving as a special education teacher for the San Bernardino City Unified School District. It is typical that Joe focuses on education for people with special needs. He will do that at Citrus College as well. See his “guiding principles” at

I came to know Joe as one of the first volunteer opening hosts at the Claremont Homeless Advocacy Program (CHAP). Every Thursday evening from 8 to 10 p.m. he would register and organize showers for the eight men and two women when they came to spend the night, after which he would engage the participants in conversation around the table until lights out at 10 p.m. 

One of those participants, Jason Procsal, summed up those sessions saying: “We really got to know Joe; Joe really got to know us. We really liked Joe; Joe really cared about us. Joe helped some get GEDs. He provided leads for job training.”

Jason is doing very well these days, with his own apartment in El Monte. Jason has become a yearly, two day volunteer for the Pilgrim Place Festival.

Joe will be the kind of trustee who will work well with colleague board members and administrators and he will be a key in helping student voices be heard.

Let’s do our part in helping Citrus College by sending them Joe Salas, a trustee who will serve the college and its students very well.

Karl Hilgert






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