CCSS Announces Rob Vicario as New President
The California Council for the Social Studies is pleased to announce that Rob Vicario, former Southern California middle school teacher and administrator, begins a one-year term as President of the CCSS on July 1, 2022.
Rob Vicario, initially began his career as an educator in Orange County, California as a high school substitute and walk-on athletic coach in the Orange Unified School District. After graduating from the Claremont Graduate University with a multiple subject credential, Rob taught middle school students in the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) over the next 15 years. He went on to serve in a variety of roles outside the classroom, over the next 18 years, which began with the opportunity to become the first Literacy Coordinator, and later Co-director, of the University of California, Irvine History Project.
There, he collaborated with colleagues from across the state through the consortium of academics and K-12 teachers that make up the California History-Social Science Project (CHSSP). Rob later served as Coordinator, History-Social Science with the Orange County Department of Education (OCDE) and helped to shine a light on the importance of being C3 ready and worked alongside of other county coordinators, and former colleagues at the CHSSP, to help lead the rollout of the History-Social Science Framework. In those roles at SAUSD and OCDE, Rob also served as the Project Director for three Teaching American History grant programs.
One of his most memorable experiences while at OCDE was having the privilege of serving as the statewide coordinator of National History Day, California in addition to leading the National History-Orange County program. Rob’s most recent classroom experience includes teaching in the Professional Studies program at Concordia University, Irvine as well as aspiring elementary teachers at Santa Ana College.
Rob has also served as a site administrator and district administrator with SAUSD and the Irvine Unified School District. In those roles, Rob has enjoyed working in support of K-12 social studies teachers as a Program Specialist, Curriculum Specialist, and Coordinator. After 34 years in public education, Rob is now providing professional learning for those teachers and districts who have adopted, or are exploring the adoption, of new curricular programs with Studies Weekly. He’s also the proud father to two wonderful teenage kids and the lucky husband of an amazing classroom Arts teacher.
A message from CCSS President Rob Vicario:
More Americans than perhaps at any point in my lifetime, have awakened to the need for a strong, well-informed electorate equipped to defend our fragile democracy. As educators, we understand that the work of defending democracy begins in our classrooms with high quality teaching and learning in the social studies.
While the polarization of our politics continues, we know that students are entitled to an honest, accurate accounting of the past and should understand how we arrived at this place and in this time. Our students not only need to acquire knowledge of the past, however, they also deserve regular opportunities to make sense of that past, in order to wrestle with the contemporary issues that are clear consequences of it.
So, we must approach the work in our classrooms with an urgency to strengthen students’ knowledge base, while also acknowledging them as individuals who bring valuable life experience and perspective to the conversations in our classrooms. Doing so not only helps to deepen students’ understanding of significant events, it also strengthens their ability to communicate more effectively, and be better able to evaluate the evidence that helps reasonable individuals draw informed conclusions. But for our republic, and democracy itself, to thrive in this tumultuous time, educators across our state and the country must also work towards cultivating the dispositions in our students that compel them to take informed action in order to improve their own classrooms, campuses, and beyond. In doing so, California students can go on to earn the State Seal of Civic Engagement, as high school Seniors or Juniors, and truly become College, Career, and Civic Life ready.
The CCSS has become an important part of my professional life, through attending the annual conferences early in my teaching career, and more recently in serving on CCSS Committees and the Board of Directors. As a profession we continue to face unprecedented challenges and as much as ever, social studies teachers need the support of strong mentors, informed and reputable guidance, and a place to improve our practice with colleagues from across the state.
I know that my fellow CCSS Board Members want this organization to provide every CCSS member the collegiality and mentorship that reminds us all why we chose this profession in the first place. This year, we encourage you to further your commitment to this collective work and join a CCSS Committee, and even run for a position on the Board, for both your own personal benefit and professional growth. This organization needs its leadership to have a range of experience and perspectives and it should always reflect the rich diversity of our state. On behalf of your Board of Directors, we look forward to coming together with you, our fellow CCSS members, and other dedicated social studies educators, to commemorate our collective commitment to Building Bridges: Past, Present, & Future at the 62nd Annual Conference in Santa Clara, from February 24-26, 2023.