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Mario Alba will serve as interim principal at Colton Elementary and Colton Middle following Tori Hazelton's resignation

PMG PHOTO: CINDY FAMA - Mario Alba will serve as interim principal at Colton Elementary and Colton Middle Schools.Mario Alba has been hired as interim principal for both Colton Elementary School and Colton Middle School. He will serve in this position to replace Tori Hazelton, who resigned Nov. 20 and whose last day with the district will be Jan. 24.

In an email, Colton School District Superintendent Koreen Barreras-Brown wrote the following.

"Mario Alba comes to us as a successful and recognized school leader with over two decades experience as a school principal. He has served as a school leader in Reynolds, Woodburn, Hillsboro, North Clackamas and most recently in Mulino.

"In addition to his years as principal, Mr. Alba served as a commissioner for the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission and is a founding leader of the Oregon Association of Latino Administrators.

"As a father of four children and grandfather of eight, Mr. Alba said he is looking forward to working and supporting the students, staff and families of Colton. 'I am most excited about serving a small community where everyone is family.' " 

Alba was born in Piedras Negras, Mexico. The family immigrated to the United States following his third-grade year in elementary school. They moved to Franklin, Idaho where his father and older brothers were contracted to work on a poultry farm. The Alba family then moved to Midvale, Utah where Mario attended junior and senior high school. He graduated from Brigham Young University and earned his master's degree from Portland State University. Alba is one of eight children, all of whom went on to successful careers. He credits his parents with giving them the impetus to achieve.

Alba said his parents were proponents of education, and it is where he got his love for education his drive to be part of the educational system and to help all students and teachers succeed.

He said as a kid, when he saw how poor his family was, he wanted to go work in the fields and help his parents out, but they said no, not during the school year. "We expect you to study and get a good education," they said.

The family worked migrant laborers during the summers, but during school months the eight children were dedicated students and encouraged to learn.

"When I would complain when working in the fields," Alba said, "mom would say you have a choice: 'you can study and get a good education and have an office with air conditioning and heat or you can continue to work in the fields.'"

"Mom only had a first-grade education but had taught herself to read and write," Alba said. "Every night she would turn off the radio and our old black-and-white TV and sit down with us and read while we sat around the table doing our homework. She was a great example.

"This is what I learned and why I can say to students, 'If I can do it, you can do it better.'

"I am here for all students, teachers, staff and parents," Alba continued. "Education means a lot to me; it has been a blessing in my life."

Alba said after he retired he missed being part of the educational system, and serving several schools as an interim principal has been re-energizing. Alba said he still feels he can make a difference and when he feels he can no longer make a difference he will retire and travel the United States visiting the small communities and historic sites.

In his spare time, he enjoys bicycling both for exercise and relaxation, listening to all genres of music and reading.

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