It is not often there is a candidate for elected office that seems to be the exact match for the seat, with a career full of experience, connections and wisdom from which to draw. But that is the case in the San Mateo County Community College District. And that candidate is Tom Mohr.
Mohr, known to most as the former superintendent of the San Mateo Union High School District, spent six years as president of Cañada College until his retirement. His understanding of the role of community college and the challenges this particular system faces is without peer. With the voice of a sage elder forged from years in this county’s education system, his language is heightened by a greater philosophy about the duty of our educational cities on a hill yet grounded in the tough work required to enact that calling.
Our county’s community colleges have several responsibilities — allowing for lifelong learning, providing training for those seeking a career change and extending the track for students from high school to four-year colleges. A subset of the latter is the need to ensure that students who graduate from high school come up to speed on college courses quickly. Mohr’s experience at both the high school and community college level provides him a unique insight into how best to make sure that track is traveled well and with proper support.
Another aspect of our community college system is ensuring that its course offerings are up to date and allow for the best training possible for today’s workforce through collaboration with business leaders. Mohr is intensely interested in that component of the system and is also interested in finding new ways to bring course offerings down from the current campuses into the areas in which this outreach is essential.
Richard Holober, an incumbent who is seeking a fifth term on the district Board of Trustees, has been known for his deliberate thought and sophistication when it comes to making decisions. Holober helped navigate the district through treacherous waters created by one of the greatest financial crises this state and its educational system has seen. Now that the funding has somewhat stabilized, Holober would again be a guiding force in rebuilding the district from the cuts it endured while forging paths for innovative and needed programs.
The other candidates for two open seats on the board, J. Samuel Diaz and George Yang offer their own unique perspectives. For Diaz, it is a real world experience. Yang delivers a certain amount of out-of-the-box thinking and the need for collaboration.
However, Holober’s knowledge and experience are an asset to this board and Mohr is an obvious and exciting choice for this position. Both deserve your vote.