SANTA ANA : School Board Adds Trustee With Insight

Gerardo Mouet, who grew up in Tijuana, said that experience gives him insight into the needs of the large immigrant population of the Santa Ana school district, which he was chosen this week to serve.

Mouet, 33, who was named to the school board, was born in San Diego but grew up in Mexico. He crossed the U.S. border every day to attend classes at San Ysidro Academy, a private Roman Catholic school.

“I witnessed a lot of poverty and suffering,” Mouet said. “It made me realize that I had a unique opportunity to take advantage of the educational system.”


Mouet gained experience creating such opportunities for students during his six years with UC Irvine’s Educational Opportunity Program/Student Affirmative Action Department, where he developed and coordinated a program designed to prepare students to become active and socially responsible leaders.

Mouet now works for the city of Santa Ana’s personnel services department and is responsible for overseeing the city’s affirmative action plan. He is also chairman of the Orange County Fair Housing Council.

Besides creating more educational opportunities for students, Mouet would also like to increase the Santa Ana Unified School District’s contact with parents.

“One of the biggest challenges for this district is to communicate with the parents and the community on the issues,” Mouet said. “I think I am very capable in this area and have a good track record of being able to communicate with parents of all ethnic heritages.”

Mouet was chosen from among 12 applicants to fill the remainder of the term vacated by Robert L. Richardson, who stepped down after being elected last month to the City Council. Mouet will be sworn as a member of the five-member board Dec. 11 and will serve until the term expires in November.

Board member Sal Mendoza, who supported community activist John Raya for the vacant position, cast the only vote against Mouet. But after the vote, Mendoza supported his new colleague.

“He’s very impressive, and I think he’s going to be a great asset to the board,” Mendoza said. “He brings some strengths that maybe the other board members don’t have.”