James Mousalimas set out to become an architect.
But instead of designing buildings, the new Superintendent of Schools for the San Joaquin County Office of Education became a chief builder of young minds.
“The goal has been to develop life-long monuments – the leaders of the tomorrow,” Mousalimas said at last Friday’s Oath of Office Ceremony at the Wentworth Education Center in Stockton.
Fredrick Wentworth, the former superintendent of the school – the SJCOE facility is named after the Manteca resident – was among his many key supporters in attendance.
Last November, Mousalimas defeated Jeff Tilton for the post previously occupied by Mick Founts. It was the first time since 1990 that a campaign for this office was contested.
Since March 2013, he was the deputy superintendent of Student Program and Services for SJCOE. Prior to that, Mousalimas was assistant superintendent County Operated Schools and Programs since 2008.
He came from Tracy Unified, serving as assistant superintendent of Human Resources, and once taught math for the Richmond Unified School District.
His career path took shape in West Africa. Mousalimas joined the Peace Corps and was a volunteer high school teacher and basketball coach in Niger.
His passion shifted to education.
At his special event, Mousalimas was joined by the likes of Kathleen Skeels (SJCOE assistant superintendent of SELPA / Special Education), Carl Toliver (retired superintendent of the Stockton Unified School District), Walter Gouveia (Tracy Unified school board member), Phyllis Grupe (founder and board chair of Community Partnership for Families of San Joaquin), and, of course, Wentworth.
Tori Verber-Salazar, who is the newly elected SJC District Attorney, administered the oath of office.
Mousalimas shared his big moment with wife, Diane; daughters Ariane, Gianna, and Paris; and other family members