NMUSD names new superintendent

After months of controversy and a lack of permanent leadership at the helm, the top position at Newport-Mesa Unified School District now has a name attached to it — and it's a familiar one.

Fred Navarro, former principal of Costa Mesa High School, will be presented to the school board at its Tuesday meeting for approval as the new superintendent.

"I'm excited to join the district again," he said. "I had a good professional and personal experience there, and I look forward to working with the staff and board members."

If Navarro is approved, he will start Aug. 1.

Navarro, 55, worked at Newport-Mesa Unified for about four years before moving on to two other jobs.

He has been superintendent of schools in the Lennox School District in Los Angeles County for about a year and a half. Before that, he was assistant superintendent of education at Anaheim Union High School District for four and a half years.

Navarro left Newport-Mesa Unified in 2006 as the director of secondary education.

"He has experience with changing the dynamics of underperforming schools and bringing families back to those schools," school board Trustee Katrina Foley said.

In a prepared statement, board members said they felt confident Navarro would bring an openness to the job.

"Dr. Navarro impressed us as a great communicator and collaborator," Trustee Karen Yelsey said. "Importantly, he has been praised for engendering trust with various stakeholders in his previous district."

Navarro said he will begin his time on the job by learning about the district and will be looking for innovative ways to make sure every student has a "state-of-the-art" education.

Navarro would replace former Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard, who was fired in January after he was convicted of two felony counts of misappropriation of public funds that took place when he was the superintendent of the Beverly Hills Unified School District.

Rob Barbot has been the district's interim superintendent since February. He came out of retirement to again serve Newport-Mesa Unified, where he was superintendent for eight years.


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