Rick Mojarro has taught all over the world, including schools in places as far and wide as Barcelona, Munich and Nairobi.
But in becoming the new principal of this week, the 50-year-old Mojarro was incited by the opposite of wanderlust: he simply wanted to be closer to his teenage daughter, an incoming freshman at University of San Francisco.
After spending the past year as the principal at Meadows School in the Millbrae School District on the heels of two years as principal at Stanford New School, a charter school in Menlo Park, Mojarro wanted to be closer to the city.
“That’s what drew me here more than anything,” said Mojarro, “Being on the Peninsula isn’t that close to USF, so I needed to relocate.”
He’s quick to note that the quality of the itself, from administrators and teachers to parents and staff, was a huge draw as well.
“This district has such a great reputation of being a high-achieving group,” he said. “I wanted to be part of that team. They strive for excellence here, and I feel most comfortable around people who strive for excellence.”
Mojarro takes over for Peg Katz, who left the district in June to move closer to family and a job as an assistant principal position in Great Neck, New York.
"I am thrilled that someone of Mr. Mojarro's caliber has been hired as the new Park School principal," new district Superintendent Paul Johnson said in a statement.
Mojarro, who has a bachelor's degree in psychology from California State University, Long Beach and a master's in education, school management and administration from Pepperdine University, has had a long and diverse career in education, from kindergarten through 12th grade as well as administration.
He’s served as principal at schools in Long Beach and Orange County, been a director at the San Diego County Office of Education, taught high school math in Southern California and taught at a number of elementary schools. He also taught at private American schools in Barcelona, Munich and Nairobi at the beginning of his career.
“That was a long time ago,” he said. “It was fabulous. I just loved every single place. I love to travel.”
Although he was only at Meadows School in Millbrae for a year, Mojarro left an impact, according to the Millbrae School District Superintendent Linda Luna.
“His mark on the Meadows School in one year includes an increase of parent and community empowerment and involvement,” she said, hailing “his passion and representation of children first and increasing the awareness and participation of parent involvement in their children’s education.”