SUE KEITH: A career devoted to education
After more than 20 years of service, Susan M. Keith will be retiring from the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees at the end of the year.
Originally elected to the board in 1999, Trustee Keith represents area 2, which includes Claremont and portions of Pomona and La Verne. She was later reelected in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015.
“It is with a grateful but heavy heart that I congratulate Trustee Keith on her retirement,” said Dr. Geraldine M. Perri, superintendent/president of Citrus College. “Her passion for education and leadership skills have benefited Citrus College and its students for more than two decades. On behalf of the entire college community, I thank Trustee Keith for her service and hope her retirement is both productive and enjoyable.”
During Ms. Keith’s time on the board of trustees, she has actively supported a variety of programs and services that have increased educational opportunities for Citrus College students. These include the veterans program, which has consistently earned Citrus College the national Military Friendly School designation; and the STEM program, which has received multiple federal grants and has produced impressive student outcomes. She also played a role in the creation of the college’s associate degree in nursing program.
Dedication to the college and its students is also what led Ms. Keith to spend more than a decade advocating for the extension of the Metro L Line (Gold), which increased access to higher education for local students. In addition, it was the reason she promoted the passage of the Measure G general obligation bond in 2004, which transformed the Citrus College campus and led to the construction of impressive facilities, such as the Visual Arts, Mathematics/Sciences and Student Services buildings.
As a result of these efforts, Citrus College has received numerous honors for its outstanding record of student success, including being recognized as a national leader for student success by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in April 2019. The AACC Award of Excellence in Student Success was presented to the college due to its sustained commitment to student achievement.
“The last 21 years have been the most gratifying of my life. It has been a privilege to work alongside the many dedicated professionals who comprise the Citrus College community,” said Ms. Keith. “I am incredibly proud of all we have accomplished and of the many lives that have been impacted by our work. Together, we have established Citrus College as a nationally recognized leader in higher education and have helped fulfill the academic and professional dreams of thousands of students.”
While Ms. Keith has worked diligently on behalf of Citrus College, she has also been a fierce advocate of the California community colleges system as a whole. She was twice elected by her peers across the state to serve on the California Community College Trustees board, and she was a member of the California Community College Chancellor’s Office Institutional Effectiveness team. In addition, Ms. Keith served on Assemblymember Chris Holden’s Educational Advisory Committee and was a liaison with the Los Angeles County School Trustees Association.
Ms. Keith’s statewide efforts also included advocating to maintain local control for community colleges and working on successful initiatives that promote collaboration between community colleges and K-12 districts. An example of this is her work in support of dual enrollment, which makes it possible for high school students to pursue a community college associate degree concurrently with a high school diploma.
“Serving as a trustee for the California community colleges, the biggest system of higher education in the world, has allowed me to advocate for programs that would best serve students throughout the state,” Ms. Keith said. “The idea that trustees can make a positive impact on so many students is both exciting and humbling.”
A lifelong proponent of education and community involvement, Ms. Keith served 12 years as a member and president of the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education prior to joining the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees. Her community involvement also includes participating as a member on the board of directors for a number of organizations, including the Baldy View Regional Occupation Program Commission, Options for Learning, the Citrus College Foundation, the Claremont Forum, the League of Women Voters of the Mount Baldy Area, the Kiwanis Club of Claremont and the Claremont Chamber of Commerce.
It is not surprising that Ms. Keith’s remarkable commitment to serving others has been repeatedly recognized. A few of the honors she has received include the Ruth Ordway Award from the League of Women Voters of Mount Baldy Area, the YWCA Women of Achievement Award and the Community Hero Award from the Los Angeles County Fair.
Most recently, Ms. Keith was presented with a Fulfilling the Trust award from the Community College League of California. Designed to recognize enduring dedication and service, it is given to those trustees who have achieved 20 years of service at a California community college.
“It has been an honor to serve beside Sue, and I am certain my fellow board members join me in offering our heartfelt congratulations on her retirement,” said Patricia A. Rasmussen, president of the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees. “The level of insight and vision that she brought to the board is invaluable, and it’s hard to imagine Citrus College without her tireless support and encouragement. We wish her every success.”