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Jaime Silva takes helm of migrant program for Office of Education

June 11, 2001|By MARIO RENTERÍA, Staff Writer

For Jaime Silva, principal at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in El Centro, his new role as director of the migrant program at the Imperial County Office of Education can be summed up in one word — challenging.

Silva was chosen to succeed Gloria Vasquez after she announced she was retiring.

"I'm very excited because it's a great opportunity and as a professional it's a major challenge for me to continue providing quality education support to migrant students," said Silva.

"I'm very optimistic with Gloria Vasquez's guidance and support and with the great staff they have. I'm sure I'll do well," said Silva.

Silva was born in Mexicali and moved to the Imperial Valley when he was 8. He knows the migrant life, having lived it from 1970 to 1980.

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Silva grew up in Heber, where he eventually taught in the same classroom where he was a student.

He described his home as a stable one in which his parents supported him in getting an education.

"They taught us work ethic, be honest and be very hard-working. I do believe good things happen to people who work hard," said Silva.

He has been in the education field for 19 years and previously was principal at McKinley Elementary School in El Centro.

"What a wonderful opportunity and a great challenge to make a difference in the lives of children who have many needs. Coming from that same background, I know what those needs are," he said.

He said he couldn't resist applying for the position, although he pondered it for about two weeks while he researched the position further.

"I spoke to my wife about it and to Gloria. The more I learned about the position, the more I knew this was a challenge I would want to undertake," said Silva.

County Schools Superintendent John Anderson said of Silva: "He understands the challenges of the high academic standards all students need to meet and I think he will be an advocate for ensuring migrant students receive a good education.

"Parents like him and I'm sure he will earn their trust and respect," Anderson added.

Silva said, "It is a great challenge to follow the footsteps of Gloria Vasquez. It's not going to be easy but with support of the migrant program's staff, county administrators and hard work, I'm confident I will be successful in providing quality education to students and make it better.

"I want to help students move forward and enrich their lives," he added.

Silva assumes his new duties July 2.

Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 337-3435.

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