Jeff Stark, Claremont Unified board challenger

The upcoming school board election will shape the future of the Claremont Unified School District for years to come. The state budget cuts for education have been severe. Careful consideration and thoughtful fiscal planning will be essential to maintaining the high quality of education our children deserve and on which our future depends. Over the past years, I have demonstrated proven leadership abilities, financial expertise, broad community involvement and the passion needed to help guide the District now and lay the groundwork for its future.

I am a founding partner of Fukagawa Stark and Associates, providing investment advisory service through National Planning Corporation. I manage the financial futures of individuals, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. With over 24 years of experience, I have gained the knowledge and expertise to manage assets more than twice the budget of the Claremont School District.

Today’s reality is that the District must do more with less while finding ways to build a financial cushion — just as families need to save for emergencies or opportunities. This requires a leader with financial experience, who understands financial statements and balance sheets; one who can ask hard questions and is adept at planning to help ensure wise decision-making now for financial stability in the future.

My community service record is strong. I served as treasurer for the Claremont Community Foundation and for Claremont AYSO. I was a member of the Finance Committee for Pilgrim Place and the Claremont Unified School District Asset Advisory Committee.
I have been fortunate to work with many passionate and committed individuals to make Claremont a better place to live. I co-chaired the committee that successfully passed the Measure Y School Bond, bringing approximately $48,900,000 into the District and served on the executive committee of the Save Our Schools Campaign, which raised over $650,000 in five months. I am a founding member of the Claremont Senior Foundation and chaired the Investment Committee.

My vision is not limited to effective financial planning. I support the efforts of those working to develop productive instructional strategies that meet the individual needs of all our children. I pledge to support our teachers and staff to foster personal and academic excellence, innovation and professional development.

My wife Christine and I were raised in Claremont, and our three children have all benefitted from the Claremont public school system. I hope you will consider my leadership and experience, and support me with your vote on Nov. 3.
Jeff Stark

Jeff Hammill, Claremont Unified board challenger

My wife and I moved to Claremont because of the wonderful educational opportunities we knew it would afford our children. We have not been disappointed. Our sons are now in first and third grade and are receiving a tremendous education. This has become a challenging time however, for our public schools.

The state budget mess has threatened the foundation of public education and forced us to make many difficult choices and cuts. The decisions the Board of Education makes today will impact education in our community for the next 10 years. We need a School Board with a long-term vision and plan to maintain the strength, safety and uniqueness of Claremont Schools. We need a Board with representation from the parents of Claremont children, the children that will have to live with these decisions.

Board members must have the ability to set priorities, manage the District’s finances in this era of budget cuts, and communicate to the public how and why decisions are being made. I feel my background as a lawyer, businessman, and public servant makes me uniquely qualified to do that.

I have served Claremont as a Planning Commissioner, making long-range decisions in the best interest of the community. I have worked with our youth as a Little League coach, teaching not only the game of baseball, but also teamwork and respect. I have served our region as a co-founder, with my wife, Sharon, of Katie’s Hope Fund at Foothill Family Shelter. Through Katie’s Hope Fund we have been able to provide educational scholarships to help formerly homeless families rebuild their lives.

Because of the challenges we face, I feel it is important to serve our community on the Board of Education. I want to keep Claremont’s schools strong, safe and unique. I hope you will join the families that have already joined my campaign and help us preserve the quality of education in our community now and in the future. Thank you for your consideration.
Jeff Hammill

Mary Caenepeel, Claremont Unified School District incumbent

I have a passion for all the children of Claremont schools and for their education. Thoughtful planning and fiscal responsibility can continue the powerful impact that our schools have within our community. I want everyone who lives in our district, no matter where they live, to be able to say “I would be proud to have my child attend any Claremont school.” One school should not be perceived as better than the other – unique … yes! – better …no!

I will continue to engage in civil, respectful, productive dialogue with fellow board members and the superintendent in expanding learning opportunities for all students. But more than just the Board and the Superintendent, I believe that it takes all of us to ensure the greatness of our schools. I have valued the countless conversations I have had with community members in stores, at civic events, on the phone or by e-mail I will continue to listen to you — the community — and to honor your ideas and concerns.

I understand the need to provide academic and career options for all our students. As Claremont’s commissioner to Baldy View Regional Occupational Programs I work to maintain and expand career pathway classes offered in our high schools. I am a strong supporter of Advancement Via Individual Determination at El Roble and Claremont High School (CHS) and International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at CHS. I believe all our students should graduate from Claremont with confidence and promise.

My husband and I have four children who graduated from Claremont schools. As a volunteer and leader in the PFA I came to understand and respect the professionalism of our teachers. As a consultant working in our schools, I have partnered and cooperated with classroom teachers to support the reading skills of at-risk students. Personally and professionally I know how hard our teachers work.

I commit my time and dedication to the challenging work of a school board member. During my first term I earned a Masters of Governance from the California School Board Association, the professional organization for school boards. In Dec. 2008, my board colleagues affirmed my leadership by unanimously electing me President of the CUSD board.
As an incumbent running for re-election to the Claremont Unified School Board I bring four years of learning, leadership and experience to my candidacy.

I want to continue to be your voice on the Claremont school board. I ask for your support.
Mary Caenepeel

Steven Llanusa, Claremont Unified board incumbent

I am running for re-election because I have skills and abilities needed on the Claremont School Board. I am an experienced leader, a classroom teacher, and parent volunteer with three primary goals:

– Increasing Student Achievement — Standardized tests don’t have to mean standardized schools. Each school’s strengths and culture provide for a variety of tools and strengths to help its individual students.

– Improving School Environment — Resources for classrooms must be the highest priority in the current budget situation to sustain continued academic progress. Students must be safe from bullying, prejudice, and substance abuse.

– Intensify Accountability — Decision making and information should be readily available, accurate, and accessible for all.

I am proud to have been the driving force on the School Board in awarding P.E. credit for afterschool sports participation. My attention to detail aided the Board when we reviewed all District policies where I moved to institute full-day kindergarten. I facilitated communication and cooperation between the School Board and City Council as the Board’s chosen representative to Claremont’s Youth and Family Master Plan Update and the Claremont Sustainability Task Force.

In my first term I represented the School Board on the Claremont Afterschool Programs (CLASP), Claremont Community Coordinating Council, and the Los Angeles County School Boards association (LACSTA). School board members from throughout L.A. County elected me to the LACSTA Executive Board.

As a proud parent of three Claremont High graduates and a current CHS student, I became an active parent in our schools in 1995 when my first foster son started there. I have served as a PFA Officer at the elementary school level, El Roble, and Claremont High. I am a Parent Booster for Claremont High Sports and Instrumental Music. My experiences in the activities of PFAs and Claremont schools give me a day-to-day view that I bring to the School Board. I also volunteered in the Save Our Schools campaign of the Claremont Educational Foundation (CEF).

As a teacher for 21 years, I have experience with a variety of curricular programs and educational reforms. My expertise in technology was used at a recent district training for teachers. I have seen firsthand how decisions in the Board room affect instruction in the classroom.

I will continue to provide the unique voice of an experienced leader, a classroom teacher, and a parent volunteer. I look forward to serving the children and community of Claremont for a second term.

Steven Llanusa