Preparing high school students for a rapidly-changing, technologically-sophisticated world and providing them with educational options to succeed, is the mission of Dr. Gabe Soumakian, the Oxnard Union High School District’s new superintendent.
“It’s a different world from what we grew up in and schools can no longer be “one-size-fits-all,’” Dr. Soumakian said. “We must offer our students multiple pathways in which to get their diplomas.”
Options include, Dr. Soumakian said, online learning and the expanding use of academies – “schools within a school” – that prepare students for careers in different fields. OUHSD already has a number of academies, including the Health Science, Teaching and Educational Career and Culinary Arts academies at Pacifica High, the Law Academy at Oxnard High and the Marine Science Academy at Channel Islands High.
Among future academies OUHSD is considering are Engineering/Robotics/Computer Programming at Rio Mesa High, Transportation at Channel Islands High and Business Entrepreneur at Oxnard High.
OUHSD also has an International Baccalaureate Program and Rio Mesa High and last fall established the Architecture, Construction and Engineering Charter High School (ACE) in Camarillo.
“Another goal is to ensure that all our students in all subgroups become proficient in English and math,” Soumakian said.
OUHSD’s new Superintendent said he also is committed to providing embedded professional staff development that supports the alignment of instruction, curriculum and assessment to ensure students become more proficient in the core academics.
“When students demonstrate greater academic proficiency, we are guaranteeing them a great quality of life with a new set of employable skills,” Dr. Soumakian said.
Dr. Soumakian brings to OUHSD a vast amount of administrative experience in education – much of it on the high school level. He comes to the district from the Burbank Unified School District, where he was Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for six years. Burbank Unified, a K-12 with over 15,000 students, is comparable in size with OUHSD, which has an enrollment of 16,800.
Previously, Dr. Soumakian served as Director of Human Resources for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and Principal of Valley Alternative School, Assistant Principal of Instruction at La Puente High School and Assistant Principal of Student Services at Wilson High School in the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District.
Dr. Soumakian’s 18 years of high school teaching experience includes service at Temple City High School, St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower and Loyola High School in Los Angeles.
Courses Dr. Soumakian taught range from biology and health to physical education and typing. He also coached football and track and field.
Dr. Soumakian earned in his Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Azusa Pacific University, with a dissertation topic of “Staff Development, Educational Technology and the Change Process.” He also received his Masters in Education degree from Azusa Pacific and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education from California State University, Northridge. His background also includes teaching doctoral candidates courses in Leading Organizational Change at AZUSA Pacific.
OUHSD’s new Superintendent also holds special certifications from the Association of California School Administrators’ Personnel Academy and a Certificate of Professional
Designation as a Chief Business Official. He also has been a facilitator-trainer for the Franklin Covey “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Inspiring Trust” model.
“I have prepared myself for the position of superintendent and I’m very excited, very thrilled that the board has entrusted in me with this opportunity,” Dr. Soumakian said.