Claremont Unified school board fills seat vacated by embattled former president – San Bernardino Sun

The Claremont Unified School District board this week appointed Hilary LaConte to fill the seat vacated by Steven Llanusa, the former board president who resigned Dec. 10. 

The board voted unanimously Wednesday, Jan. 18 to select LaConte who previously served on the CUSD board from 2007 to 2020.

With the vote, LaConte takes over the vacant seat in Trustee Area 4 and will serve until November 2024. She served three times as board president in her three terms.

In a statement Friday afternoon, LaConte thanked the board for their support and expressed excitement to work with the school district once again.

“It is a short appointment and since I will not seek office in 2024. Trustee Area 4 will have a healthy opportunity for a robust election. Until then, I look forward to visiting schools and being a steady presence on the board,” the statement reads.

LaConte is expected to be sworn in Feb. 2 in during the regular board meeting, according to the school district.

LaConte works at Pomona College as associate director of the program in public policy analysis. She previously taught for 10 years at Claremont Graduate University as an adjunct associate professor.

The newly filled seat had been vacant since Llanusa, a 17-year board member, stepped down amid allegations of misconduct at a holiday party at his home.

He faced mounting pressure to resign from fellow board members after parents said Claremont High School choir students were exposed to inappropriate behavior at an off-site holiday party on Dec. 3 at Llanusa’s home.

The students performed at the party to raise money for the choir program, parents said at a special board meeting Dec. 9. At the party, parents said, the students were exposed to scantily clad male dancers dressed as elves and a “dirty Santa,” while some were offered alcohol.

Less than a week later, the school board outlined steps to replace Llanusa through an application process to ultimately appoint a successor. The vacant seat received 10 total applications, including Aaron Peterson, whom Llanusa narrowly defeated in the November election.

Llanusa, a teacher for the Colton Joint Unified School District, is still on leave from his job there, district spokesperson Katie Orloff confirmed Friday. He is listed as a teacher on the website for Smith Tech Academy in Bloomington.

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