New OSD superintendent

Karling Aguilera-Fort

Oxnard School District’s school board announced Monday that Karling Aguilera-Fort has been selected to replace outgoing Superintendent Cesar Morales for the position of Superintendent.

Aguilera-Fort is expected to take the reins from Morales on June 19 pending approval of his contract.

“I am thrilled to join the Oxnard School District community,” said Aguilera-Fort. “I look forward to continuing the innovative and standard-setting work that is already taking place throughout the district and doing my part to support the Oxnard School District team in advancing student achievement across the board.

“I am excited to meet the educators, staff, and families that drive this community, and am very grateful to the Board of Education for giving me this opportunity to serve.”

For the last two years Aguilera-Fort has been superintendent of the El Rancho Unified School District in Pico Rivera, which has about 8,600 students Before that he worked in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), performing three different assistant superintendent jobs.

Aguilera-Fort—who is originally from Venezuela—has also been a bilingual special education teacher, assistant principal and principal during his almost three decades of service in public education. “I’m very happy and very hopeful, I’ve known Mr. Aguilera-Fort for 20 years in advocacy of for students in education at the national level,” said OSD Trustee Denis O’Leary. “I never thought I would have the opportunity to be working with him for the education of students in Oxnard.” O’Leary added that Aguilera-Fort stood out for his advocacy of English-as-a second-language students as far back as the 1990s, when California voters passed Prop. 227, a law that made it harder to teach children in both English and Spanish. The law was later repealed.

O’Leary said he and Aguilera-Fort spearheaded a successful effort to keep similar laws from being passed in other states, “so I’m looking forward to again working with him here.”

In 2016 Aguilera-Fort received the National Education Award for Excellence and Equity from the Niroga Institute. The award is given for narrowing the achievement gap and supporting social and emotional learning.

OSD Board President Veronica Robles-Solis said Aguilera-Fort was selected for his efforts on behalf of special education and other disadvantaged students, including Spanish speakers and students from diverse backgrounds and learning styles.

“Karling’s deep commitment to educational excellence, equity and service and his track record of improving school achievement, expertise in bilingual education and special education will serve our District well,” said Robles-Solis. “His strong work ethic, passion, skills and ability to develop trust and meaningful relationships with all of the District’s stakeholders makes him an excellent match for the Oxnard School District.”

Aguilera-Fort’s hiring follows an extensive search that included a field of 16 candidates, including five superintendents. The school board’s interviews factored in priorities from numerous OSD stakeholder groups.

The Oxnard School District, has about 16,800 students in transitional kindergarten through eighth grade at twenty-one schools. Their mission statement reads: “Our mission is to ensure a culturally diverse education for each student in a safe, healthy and supportive environment that prepares students for college and career opportunities”.