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New El Portal Principal Promotes Student Growth
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Taking over the reins at El Portal Middle School in the midst of a required program improvement under the No Child Left Behind Act, new principal Wilson Nacario is up to the challenge of spearheading school improvement.

"I was looking for schools that were under program improvement," he explained of seeking the job at El Portal. "I was thrilled when they called me for an interview."

A veteran with some 30 years in the educational field, Nacario's first job was as a teacher at a Juvenile Hall school in Martinez. He has had many teaching and administrative posts since, including his most recent stints as a superintendent/principal in Los Angeles and a teacher in Oakland.

He has been a middle school principal in the past as well, and said he sees El Portal as a good fit for his career right now. The school is in its third year of program improvement.

"I'm here so I can close an achievement gap," he said of bringing the English as a second language students closer to the achievement level of the English speaking students. "My goal is to take us off the (program improvement) list and eventually win a blue ribbon ... I want us to be a National Blue Ribbon School but you do have to show gains in your test scores and be a model middle school."

It will take time - Nacario estimates a few years - but he said with the staff in place and the dedication he has seen so far, he's certain El Portal can achieve that blue ribbon status.