Rio and the Arts

Rio and the Arts

The Rio School District supports the Arts. It provides opportunities for learners to learn and develop as creative, making people. It also provides chances for the community and other experts to engage with the arts being made in Rio. This takes many forms. In many and most classrooms, classroom teachers embed and integrate arts activities into learning of all kinds and levels. Rio teachers also teach art for art’s sake. Visual arts, musical arts, theatrical and dramatic arts, dance arts, video arts, animation arts, and performance arts all have a prominent place in Rio learning. We acknowledge that to be human is to have the arts in our lives.

Rio uses its limited funding for these purposes. We want to make sure that Rio learners have these opportunities in their lives. One day, in a better “educational world,” the educational budget will declare this priority at a state level. Regardless, sustaining and developing the arts is up to us as a local community. 

Life is better because of the arts.

Simply put.   

November 2019 Principal Profile – Adeline Mendez

November 2019 Principal Profile

Adeline Mendez

Principal – Rio Lindo Elementary School

1st Year as Lindo Principal

1st Year as Principal

12 Years as Teacher


This is Ms. Mendez’s first year as principal, previously she served as assistant principal for both Rio Vista and Rio Del Valle middle schools. Ms. Mendez was a teacher at Rio Rosales  and Rio Real Elementary Schools and has served as summer science academy administrator for multiple years.

Ms. Mendez earned her B.A. in History from California State University, Northridge, her teaching credential from California State University, Channel Islands, her counseling credential and M.A. in Counseling from California Lutheran University, and her administrative credential and Masters in Leadership from California State University, Northridge.

Adeline likes to watch old movies and spend time with her family which is huge. Saturdays are for family and Sundays are for football. Ms. Mendez grew up locally in Oxnard and Port Hueneme. Her family is still very rooted here.  

Ms. Mendez is a great example of the strength and vitality of our local community. While many California communities tend towards breaking families apart and the impersonality of the nuclear family, Rio and Oxnard families commonly are able and interested in developing their community through service. Adeline has always worked in service of others and has stepped up to leadership in a variety of roles. At her heart she is a learner and this is an invaluable asset as an educator. Her humility is a sign of her supportive and forward thinking leadership style. 

We asked Ms. Mendez the following three questions and his responses follow each;


  • What do you think matters most to children when they attend school?


What matters most to children when they attend school is having positive relationships with peers, teachers and other adults on campus.  When students have positive relationships and interactions at school, it creates a sense that they trulybelong and that they matter, thus building a sense ofconnectedness to school.  I believe that students’ social/emotional well being is just as important, if not more so, than their academics needs.  In my past experiences as a classroom teacher, I found that students tried and worked harder when they knew and felt I cared about them, took interest in their likes and dislikes, recognized their strengths or areas they could improve upon.  Positive relationships with teachers and peers creates a safe learning environment where childrens’ innate curiosity, creativity and happiness are stimulated and energized.  



  • How has your leadership changed over time and experience?


Throughout my experience in leadership roles I’ve learned that there is more to being an educational leader than merely managing a school site.  As a school administrator, not only are you responsible for the implementation of academic programs and instruction but also developing the capacity of 

students, parents and faculty.  In my role as a school leader, I have had to counsel, advocate, mentor and develop individual’s abilities.  I believe my success as an educational leader comes from cultivating competency in others’ capacity to lead.  Empowering others to see their own leadership capabilities is a true measurement of an educational leader.       


  • What has working in schools meant to you in terms of your own development as a person, mother, and citizen?


Working in schools has been a great privilege and honor.  I have been fortunate enough to work with amazing people and schools that have influenced my development as a person, mother, and citizen.  As a person, I have become more empathetic, collaborative, reflective and less reactive. As a mother, I am more patient, understanding and attentive to their needs.  As a citizen, I have a greater sense of purpose and responsibility to the community that I work and live in.  

Throughout, my educational journey there have been teachers, principals, counselors, peers and other school personnel who assisted and inspired me in various ways.  I now feel an immense obligation to give back to the community that has given me the opportunity to develop into the educational leader I am today.              




Post by the Supt.

John Puglisi Ph.D.

I just finished reading two books, both connecting me to a teacher I have known for some time (Judith Green) and to many other teacher ethnographers. We have many common threads that connect us all but surely ethnography is an elemental part of the weave. 

The first book ties a variety of examples of writer/educators in describing ways schools, classes, teachers can get at “deeper learning.” They offer views into dialogic learning and critical thinking for students. The second book, an older text revisited, takes an ethnographic look at what it’s like to be a school principal. Both books connect me to many well worn though processes as well as new takes on being an educator.

Deeper learning is a worthy aim in almost any context. Deeper learning certainly avails the learner of practice in unpacking complexity through simple routines; observing, taking notes, thinking, thinking with others, and thinking about thinking. In this age of layers and layers of sometimes unnecessary societal complexity, I often see deep learning and deep work as essential to barely knowing what’s going on. What’s going on? The song asks…. Who and what is burying us in unnecessary layers and shrouds of complexity? 

Who shall be practiced in weighing through the unnecessary layers? Who shall be elevated to decision making which chooses to unburden others of unnecessary complexity? Of course there is existential complexity at every level of consciousness and knowledge development. Schools and curriculum in America, though, seem so well designed in dumping the unnecessary layers and unbounded quantities of things to master. This condition often reduces opportunities to go deep and develop deep literacies which are at the core of social and economic mobility and flexibility. 

Great teachers, though, are often great at wading through the challenges to guide learners on their own paths of deep learning while building the reading, writing, speaking, and scientific practices that serve the learner at every age. Most commonly, they do so through a great reverence for the value of the individual inquirer simultaneous with life and the universe itself. 

The second book about being a principal and about the role of the ethnographer in school cultures is deeply connected with my own trajectory as an educator. From teacher to principal to superintendent and all the while with an ethnographic lens. The book, first written in 1973, brings to mind a time of my childhood while framing seemingly timeless aspects of the role of principal. Even then it suggested that principals, beyond being middle managers in school systems, were being asked to be change agents. It drew an interesting comparison between the principal and the ethnographer such that the principal worked to resolve, eliminate, and prevent problems while the ethnographer sought to find them and describe them. This really captured an internal personal conundrum. A never ending battle. It brought to mind educational leader roles in any position in the hierarchy as perhaps agents of improvement rather than change, agents of meaning making, agents of collaboration, agents of advancement of others. In its final chapters it suggested that principals are aimed more at stabilizing than changing as they provide the linkage between bureaucracy and the individual needs of all the many diverse people they interact with each day.

If we accept that everything is changing all the time. What does this ask the principal to do? If not stabilizing to sameness then perhaps helping systems, community, people find balances that too are always changing. Either way, two good books got me thinking, got me remembering, got me connecting to years of work and more than 34 orbits round the sun thinking about and acting on what schools, classrooms, teachers, teacher leaders and educators do and aim to do. 2  good books.