What would be the odds of a poor Mexican boy who migrated with his family to southern California in the 1920s, rising through the ranks of the American education system to become the first Hispanic principal of a junior and senior high school in San Diego, the second Hispanic to be a college president in California, and to serve in the administrations of four U.S. presidents? Armando Rodriguez spoke no English when he first set foot in the United States and was just old enough to start school in a district with few Spanish-speaking teachers. But with parents who emphasized the importance of education and who taught him the value of hard work, Armando Rodriguez became fluent in English, received a doctorate in bilingual education, and was instrumental in developing the field of bilingual education while serving as Assistant Commissioner of Education for the nation. Rodriguez recalls his inspirational journey from a short child who was so dark he was nicknamed ""Shadow"" to being influential in shaping education on district, state, and national levels. Some still call him Shadow, though it is now spoken with respect and admiration for an immigrant who overcame many obstacles to become an instrument of change for his country.
Armando Rodriguez lives in El Cajon, California, with Beatriz, his wife of fifty-eight years. Keith Taylor is a retired U.S. Navy officer and was a longtime columnist for The Navy Times. Lionel Van Deerlin is a former U.S. Congressman from San Diego, California, and is professor emeritus of journalism, San Diego State University, and a columnist for The San Diego Union-Tribune.