Treser Osgood has love of learning, collaboration
School board candidate Nancy Treser Osgood aims to enhance communication between the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education and stakeholders like district faculty and staff, parents and community members, nearby colleges and the local business community.
Ms. Treser Osgood will begin communicating her own message, in anticipation of the upcoming local and municipal election on November 5, at a campaign kick-off set for Sunday, September 22. The event, which runs from 4 to 5:30 p.m., will be held at 50-Fifty Asian Cuisine, 201 N. Indian Hill Blvd. in Claremont. Guests are invited to meet Ms. Treser Osgood, pick up a yard sign and sample some Asian fusion cuisine.
Ms. Treser Osgood, who has been director of alumni relations at Pomona College since 1997, has been regularly attending school board meetings for the last 18 months in preparation for her candidacy. During that time, she has found the council chambers only tend to overflow during times of celebration and crisis.
With a bit of outreach, Ms. Treser Osgood feels it’s possible to drum up more community interest in the day-to-day doings of CUSD.
One way to do this, she suggests, would be to move school board meetings around, holding them at various school sites as opposed to keeping them stationed at the District Office on San Jose Avenue. Perhaps the times could be varied, too, capturing attendees who are generally at home eating dinner when the board gathers.
For instance, a school board meeting held earlier in the day at Claremont High School might end up packed with CHS faculty and staff and with government students, who are required to attend a meeting of a local government body at some point in the year.
Another way the school board could strengthen its relationship with the various schools would be for each board member to serve as a liaison with 2 or 3 schools in the district, according to Ms. Treser Osgood. If she were to serve as a liaison for Vista, for example, she might attend a PTA meeting, sit in on a staff meeting or take the principal out for coffee.
“It’s a way to strengthen the lines of communication and emphasize that we’re all rowing in the same direction,” she said.
Ms. Treser Osgood, who is delighted to have been endorsed by the Claremont Faculty Association, has an array of experience that qualifies her to help guide the local school district.
With a master’s in religious education from the Claremont School of Theology, she served as director of education at the First Presbyterian Church of Pomona and at the California Heights United Methodist Church in Long Beach, prior to coming to Pomona College as associate director of alumni relations in 1989.
Ms. Treser Osgood has 2 sons—one attends Williams College and another is a senior at Claremont High School—and both attended Claremont public schools since kindergarten. She has been an active volunteer at their schools, including service with the CHS soccer boosters, and is currently secretary of the Claremont Educational Foundation.
In the realm of higher education, she is chair of the Southwest United States for CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education) District VII. She is responsible for strategic planning, board leadership, financial management and overall administration of the district, which is comprised of 400 colleges in California and other southwestern states, along with a number of schools in Hawaii and Guam.
Still, Ms. Treser Osgood has put in significant legwork to help prepare her for potential school board membership. She recently audited a class at Pomona College on politics and policy in education. She also just met with Sue Keith, Claremont’s representative on the Citrus College Board of Trustees, to find out more about the district’s relationship with its local community college.
Ms. Treser Osgood was surprised to learn that Citrus welcomes more Claremont High School graduates than any other college, news that makes her determined the 2 schools should strengthen their partnership. She would love to see a meeting arranged between the boards of CUSD and Citrus that might help illuminate whether the district is properly preparing students for coursework at the community college.
Ms. Treser Osgood would also like to see more collaboration between Claremont’s public schools and The Claremont Colleges. One aim might be to encourage more Claremont Colleges students to volunteer at Claremont schools and with programs like CLASP (Claremont After-School Programs), an endeavor that would provide college students with much-needed real-world experience, often just a short walk from their respective campuses.
Along with seeing more Claremont College students and faculty lending their expertise to CUSD, Ms. Treser Osgood would like to see the local K-12 students benefit more from the material resources of The Colleges. Pomona College owns a permanent collection of more than 5,000 Native American artifacts, many acquired by collectors at the turn of the last century, which is now housed at Bridges Auditorium. It would be wonderful if Claremont students could take a field trip there, perhaps coinciding with their fourth grade Mission studies unit, Ms. Treser Osgood said, noting that in many cases the students are close enough to walk.
Through her involvement in the Claremont Educational Foundation, Ms. Treser Osgood has come to value the partnership between members of the local business community and CUSD. It is a union she would like to see further enhanced.
The Claremont Educational Foundation has more than 35 business partners that donate to the organization’s mission of providing art, music and technology at Claremont schools as well as running the SLICE summer enrichment program. A few businesses also give to CUSD by participating in the eGood program, through which a percentage of proceeds are donated to the district.
Along with finding more businesses to “Get on the Bus” to help the schools financially, Ms. Treser Osgood feels it would be beneficial if a variety of local businesses were encouraged to organize internships and other learning opportunities for Claremont students.
Ms. Treser Osgood salutes the current school board for achievements like helping CUSD navigate the financial crisis and inking a 3-year contract with Superintendent Jim Elsasser, paving the way for greater district stability. Still, she feels the board would benefit from her emphasis on communication and collaboration, particularly as the district prepares to come into several million dollars from the sale of surplus property such as the old district office and the soon-to-be-relocated service center.
The process of spending that money, she said, should begin with the district revisiting its list of priorities. Once the district has communicated must-do expenditures such as the mitigation of safety issues, Ms. Treser Osgood said staff, students and residents should be given the opportunity to weigh in on the improvements they would like to see made in Claremont schools.
As the election nears, Ms. Treser Osgood said she would welcome the chance to have more of a part in something she treasures: education.
“I love to see the light go on in someone’s mind—that moment when the material comes alive and a spark and passionate energy ignites a student’s learning power,” she said.
For information on Ms. Treser Ogood and her campaign, visit her website, www.osgoodforclaremontschools.com.
Profiles on school board candidates Steven Llanusa and Joseph Salas ran in previous editions of the COURIER. Profiles on the remaining 2 CUSD school board candidates, David Nemer and Paul Steffen, will appear in upcoming editions of the COURIER.