Rio School District Celebrates 130 years and Rio Del Valle 55 years

Community leaders and educators reflected on the Rio School District’s accomplishments as it marked its 130th anniversary Saturday and called for many more as they look toward the future.

More than 100 parents, students, teachers and staff members gathered Saturday morning at Rio del Valle Middle School to also celebrate the school’s 55th birthday.

Oxnard City Council member Carmen Ramirez lauded the students, teachers, parents and administrators of the north Oxnard-area district for doing “the most important thing in our community: attending to the lives of our children.”

“We count on you all,” she said. “We hope that in everything you do today, you continue to think of it as affecting the next seven generations.”

Eleanor Torres, president of the district board, said Rio has become a model for other districts.

“Years ago, we were having families take their kids out of the district, and now they’re waiting in line to come in,” she said, attributing much of that change to the K-8 district’s emphasis on science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

Joe Mendoza, director of Ventura County Office of Education migrant education program, thanked those who gathered to celebrate the district’s and school’s milestones.

“We should celebrate our accomplishments and improve upon them,” he said.

He praised everyone from bus drivers to parents to administrators for playing a role in educating students.

“We teach children not to follow where a path might lead,” he said, “but instead to go where there is no path and continue to forge new frontiers.”

The day also recognized the devotion of former district board member Ernest Almanza, who died earlier this year and had been elected in 1965 for a position he held until 2004.