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Our Opinion: Roberto Moreno: Job well done

June 18, 2002

Roberto Moreno must have some great genetics.

To be in his 50s and look as good as he does, while having been the superintendent of a comprehensive and fast-growing school district for more than a decade, would wear on anyone. Yet Moreno, the longtime head of the Calexico Unified School District, looks remarkably good for a man of his age, particularly one who has been through the rigors he undoubtedly has.

Moreno announced last week that he was retiring from his job at the end of the year after 31 years in the district as a teacher, counselor and administrator. A Calexico native, Moreno has done a fine job of leading the district through a tremendous growth period, as it added elementary schools and is continuing to add more, built a second junior high in the city and is now contemplating building a second high school in Calexico. Building schools is a tough job with countless bureaucratic and monetary obstacles, but he has gotten that job done more than once.

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While the Calexico district has not been without teacher unrest over contracts, rarely has the animus been directed at Moreno, and it is rare under such circumstances when it isn't. (If you don't believe us, ask a couple of superintendents in Imperial and El Centro if they haven't felt the wrath of teachers during contract bargaining stalemates)

Moreno has been fortunate during his tenure as superintendent to work with a consistently fine school board with its eye primarily on what is best for Calexico's kids. He has rarely had to deal with the personal political agendas of school board members. (If you don't think school board members can have personal agendas, talk to a couple superintendents in El Centro and Brawley.)

It took most by surprise when Moreno said he planned to move on. He still appears young, he seems vibrant, he seems to enjoy the job, the kids and the employees, and he has had a relatively pain-free tenure as a superintendent in Calexico, although trouble seems to be again looming with the local teachers' union. Maybe he decided to get out while his health was still good and he still had time for other pursuits, including more time with his family.

If he did, good for him. It will be hard to replace a superintendent of Moreno's quality, but no one can question that he did a tremendous amount of good for Calexico schools and students.

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