San Diego is more than my hometown. San Diego is in my blood. My roots are in its soil. San Diego is my past, my present, and my future. It is where I was born, where I have lived, where I birthed my daughters, and where I married my husband. San Diego is where my ancestors and relatives lived, loved and are buried. San Diego is where my grand-daughter was born and where I first held her.
I was born on April 15, 1974 on a day that my father was painting murals in Chicano Park. Chicano Park is home to our nation’s largest collection of outdoor murals that represent the culture of our Raza and stands as a symbol of the Chicano civil rights movement. He and my mother were very involved in the Chicano movement and lived in a small house across from the park. At hearing the announcement of my birth, artist Benavides, celebrating the news by painting my name on the corner of his mural. The honor of having my birth documented on what has become a National Historic Landmark, and an important representation of our Chicano history, is not lost on me.
Education and fighting for social justice is the legacy that my family has passed on to me. My mother, Irma Castro, was the Executive Director of the Chicano Federation for 11 years before becoming an administrator with San Diego City Schools, where she led programs for Latinas and African American males. My father, Abran Quevedo, was a mechanic who owned a shop on the corner of 30th and A street in Golden Hills for 14 years before becoming an auto shop teacher. Although my parents separated and then divorced when my brother and I were children, they co-parented and raised us with the support of my tía, abuela and step-mother.
In 1992, I graduated from San Diego High School and began my college career at Southwestern Community College. It was there that I made the decision to become an educator. In 1994, shortly before my 20th birthday, my daughter Camerina was born, followed by Emilia in 1995. As a single mother, with two diaper bags, a backpack, and a double stroller, I entered San Diego State University. I left in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing, and a single subject teaching credential. My husband came into our lives in the 2000, and after a deep romance, we were wed in 2001 at Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Barrio Logan. Daniel adopted Camerina and Emilia in 2004 and a year later we had one last daughter, Sophia.
I taught English for thee years at Chula Vista Middle School and at Montgomery High School for over three years before becoming an Assistant Principal at George Nicoloff Elementary. In 2009, I became the Principal of Sunnyslope Elementary staying until 2012. It was then that I became the Director of MAAC Community Charter School, an alternative charter high school. I now work with the San Diego County Office of Education where I lead career readiness and Career Technical Education for students in our juvenile court school and in our community schools.
I believe in public education and the responsibility that we carry to provide all students and their parents, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized, with high quality educational programming that includes comprehensive supports and services. Our Latino and African-American students are the most likely to drop out of school and are most likely to enter the juvenile justice system. As a society, we must accept how it is that we systematically fail these students, so that we can create systems that will guarantee their engagement and success. Through my work as a fellow and master fellow with the National Institute of Latino School Leaders, a program offered by UNIDOS US (formerly National Council of La Raza), I learned how to advocate for our youth on a local, state and national level. Most importantly, I was able to support other educators, students and parents with finding their voice and learning how to advocate.
Joining and leading the development of the La Comadre San Diego blog is a long time dream of mine. This is an opportunity to document both the amazing, and not so amazing, work being done in San Diego that impacts our youth, parents, and community. It is also an opportunity to write, and engage others in writing, about our beautiful city and their experiences with our educational systems. Please stay tuned, as we will be launching La Comadre San Diego in early 2018, and you will be reading stories from our youth, elders, and parents.
Latest posts by Marisol Rerucha (see all)
- Reflexiones Sobre la Reforma Educativa de México: Una Perspectiva de una Líder Educativa Chicana - June 30, 2018
- Thoughts on Mexico’s Educational Reform: A Chicana Educational Leader’s Perspective - June 29, 2018
- Educadores en Acción: Luchado Por los Dreamers y el Alma de Nuestra Nación - January 2, 2018
- Educators in Action: Fighting for DREAMers and the Soul of Our Nation - December 26, 2017
- Una Introducción y Por Qué Estoy Comprometida a Luchar por la Justicia Social y Por Nuestros Estudiantes en San Diego - December 19, 2017