New ACSA exec comes full circle
Zazueta spends first day on the job in hometown
June 13, 2022
New ACSA Executive Director Edgar Zazueta spent his first day on the job visiting schools in his hometown of Perris, in Riverside County.
On May 31, Zazueta toured schools with Nuview Union School District Superintendent John Huber in the nearby community of Nuevo. One of their stops was Valley View Elementary, where his sister, Daisy Zazueta, is a kindergarten teacher.
Her students asked some insightful questions, such as “How old are you?” and “Why is our teacher so short and you’re not?”
“One of the highlights of my trip was conversing with those kids,” Zazueta said.
For his first official day on June 1, Zazueta spent time at his alma mater, Perris High School, where he graduated in 1998. He was hosted by Perris Union High School District Superintendent Grant Bennett, who was the school’s Assistant Principal/Athletic Director when Zazueta was a student.
Bennett said he remembers when Zazueta’s best friend and soccer teammate received a suspension the day before a game.
“Edgar came to my office acting like his friend’s lawyer, lobbying me to change my decision. He was very respectful, but the suspension was upheld,” he said. “We laugh about it now, and now Edgar lobbies for ACSA in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.”
Principal Juan Santos showed Zazueta around his old school, which has been fully remodeled since the late ’90s. He visited many of the school’s CTE Pathways classrooms in fields such as auto technology, medical careers, culinary arts, robotics and agricultural sciences.
Zazueta also stopped by the brand-new campus at Liberty High School, which opened in 2021 as a student-centered, technology-rich educational environment. The school is led by Principal Erika Tejeda, who was a classmate of Zazueta’s at Perris High School.
“We in Perris are ecstatic that Edgar is the new leader of ACSA. We look forward, under Edgar’s leadership, to continued growth in our advocacy platform to meet the needs of California students. In addition, we look forward to expanding ACSA’s professional development opportunities to prepare the administrators of tomorrow,” said Bennett, who also represents Region 19 on ACSA’s Board of Directors. “I have known Edgar Zazueta for 25 years and I know that he is the absolute right person to lead ACSA at this time. ACSA is in great hands and our future is bright.”
Zazueta felt it was important to spend his first day as ACSA’s leader out in the field where it all started.
“I’ve been thinking so much about what I want to accomplish, so on my first official day, I thought, well, what is this about? It’s about our members. It’s about the kids,” he said. “It was a good way for me to get grounded about what this work is and pay homage to the people who helped forge my path.”
While back at home, Zazueta also visited with his parents. Zazueta’s parents are immigrants from Mexico, and he said they created a very supportive and loving home for Zazueta and his two siblings to grow up in.
He knows not every kid had that experience.
“This work is very personal because I look at a lot of the kids that grew up down the street from me, that grew up in the same community, and I know they all didn’t have the same opportunities,” he said.
Although his parents did not have the capacity to support his learning as much as they would have liked, Zazueta said his parents trusted the education system — and it did not let them down.
“I got all the opportunities I’ve had today to this point because of my teachers, because of my educators, because of my administrators and school leaders,” Zazueta said, adding, “We really need to be unapologetic about advocating and pushing for the rights of kids, especially those that have been historically marginalized or underserved.”
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