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Chuck Freitas makes a difference as active Claremonter

He’s had a part in almost every area of Claremont schools for close to 4 decades, and has not lost his enthusiasm for the schools and city he calls home.

Charles Worthing Freitas, better known as “Chuck” is the Grand Marshal for “Claremont Rocks the Fourth,” presiding over Thursday’s gala parade to mark the occasion.

Mr. Freitas’ journey to Claremont began in Huntington Park, where he was born to Worthing and Jordis Freitas in 1942. His father was a US Marine during World War II who went on to a career in the oil refinery business. His mother was a registered nurse, and the family included his younger sister, Judy Baker.

The family lived in Yorba Linda, and Mr. Freitas attended and graduated from, he explains with a chuckle, “Valencia High School in Placentia.” He was active in 3 sports in high school and, after attending Mt. San Antonio College for 2 years, continued that interest by playing football for the University of La Verne.

After teaching in the Charter Oak School District, Mr. Freitas came to Claremont as a science teacher at El Roble Intermediate School while studying for a master’s degree in school administration at California State University at Fullerton. At the same time, he was an assistant football coach at Claremont High School (CHS) under the tutelage of the legendary Esper Keiser.

After finishing his master’s degree, Mr. Freitas was instrumental in starting the Claremont Adult School program, offering classes for adults at 20 locations throughout the city.

In the “post-13 (Proposition 13) years,” Mr. Freitas was principal at Sycamore Elementary School for 8 years, then served in the same position at Condit Elementary School for another 8 years. Along the way, he served in interim positions at Condit, at Sutherland School in Glendora, and at Sycamore as well as spending 2 years as a mentor to principals at CHS.

Mr. Freitas began his position for the school district as director of student services in 1994, a post he held until his retirement in 2005.

Of his career in education, Mr. Freitas recalls one thing most vividly: “The opportunity to work with some outstanding individuals in the Claremont Unified School District.”

It was particularly pleasing, he reported, as president of the Claremont Management Association, to be able to work with the Claremont Faculty Association in establishing Shared Decision Making. It was a program that led to a lot of traveling and educational television programs on making it happen. “We did workshops statewide,” he remembers.

In the community, Mr. Freitas is active in the Claremont Sunrise Rotary program, currently serving his second term as president and very recently attending an international convention of the group in Lisbon, Portugal. Through his association with Rotary, Mr. Freitas has served as literacy chairman for a Rotary area including 60 clubs to promote reading among children. He has also been active in the establishment of the annual Claremont Turkey Trot community run—an activity in which he is quick to point out the contributions of Leo Bister.

For 35 years, Mr. Freitas has been a board member and is a past president of the Association of California School Administrators. Mr. Freitas has also been a presenter of the California School Leadership Awards for new and aspiring administrators. He is currently continuing community service as a member of the city’s traffic commission.

On the family front, Mr. Freitas and his wife, Devon, also a retired educator, are much involved in their combined family of 4 sons and 13 grandchildren.

When he has a chance, Mr. Freitas enjoys mountain biking, woodworking, “antiquing” and even occasionally cleaning out the garage—a standing joke in the family.

Vacationing in Palm Desert and Lake Arrowhead are near the top of “like to do’s” for the Freitas family.

And both are looking forward to the holiday parade. “This time…” Mr. Freitas says with a broad smile, “…we get to ride!”

—Pat Yarborough

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