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New South Coast Education Leader Breaks Color Barrier

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(KCLU photo)
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Ventura County Superintendent Of Schools Dr. Cesar Morales is greeted by well-wishers following his inauguration in Camarillo.

Ventura County has its first ever Latino Superintendent of Schools

It’s Ventura County history.

For the first time since the Ventura County Superintendent of Schools post was created more than 150 years ago, the job is held by a Latino, and a person of color.

Dr. Cesar Morales is an American success story. His parents immigrated from Mexico to Southern California. His father became a civil rights leader in Southern California.

Morales earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Loyola, and a doctorate from UCLA. He started as a middle and high school teacher, and served as an administrator in two Southern California schools districts. That led him to Oxnard, where he was Superintendent of the Oxnard School District for six years.

Morales joined the Ventura County Office of Education in 2019. When longtime Superintendent Stan Mantooth retired, Morales was named acting Superintendent. Following a nationwide search, the Ventura County Board of Education appointed him to the post.

Morales admits stepping into the post is the middle of a pandemic has been challenging, but he’s been thrilled about the opportunity to make a difference.

The Superintendent’s office has tried to help Ventura County’s 20 school districts deal with moving to remote learning. And, it’s worked with state and Ventura County officials in developing local versions of safety guidelines for school reopenings.

Morales is optimistic that schools will be able to get back to largely normal operations this fall. He says if health conditions continue to improve, he doesn’t see any reason that with precautions we can’t return to in-person five day a week instruction.

Morales says he hopes help show Latino kids that anything is possible if they reach for it, and that someone that looks like them can hold a position of importance.