Malaya Cabrera steps down as A.D.


Tyler Washburn, Mirada Staff

Malaya Cabrera, who in the last five years guided the Rio Americano athletic program to numerous section titles and through the disruptions of Covid-19, is stepping down as athletic director at the end of the year. 

She will be replaced by veteran history teacher William Taylor, who has coached water polo and soccer here.

“I think he’s going to be great, and he is perfect for the job,” she said.

Cabrera, who has been an inspiration to athletes and students in her freshman and sophomore English classes, was herself inspired by a high school English teacher.  

One day in the beginning of the year, her teacher, Mr. Cuny, asked the class to raise their hands if they wanted to go to college. Cabrera and only two others raised their hands, but by the end of the school year more than one-third of the class changed their mind and were planning to attend college. 

Although Miss Cabrera always has wanted to be a teacher, this really inspired her. Mr Cuny, her teacher once said “who here wants to go to college? It was the best time of my life.

Growing up in Los Angeles with her family, she loved to play soccer. 

She continued her education at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, committing as a junior to play soccer at center back and run track. 

 “UOP gave me the opportunity to play the sport that I loved as a kid while still getting an education,” she said. “I used soccer as my key to success and college soccer can be considered some of my most challenging years.”

Like Mr. Cuny, she wants to help kids find a path in life and she wants to encourage them to go college. 

“To be a teacher at Rio is to invest your time into each student and help them grow not only as students but as humans, too,” she said.

 Cabrera has been the Athletic Director since her first year at the school. 

Even after the stress of learning on the job, she mentioned running the athletics program during Covid-19 as “one of the most challenging times because information was changing everyday, I was asked to do things I didn’t know how to do like being a nurse and having to supervise the whole gym while being the AD.”

Amid spending long hours after school, administering Covid tests, and working through ever-changing schedules and stacks of paperwork, Cabrera decided it might be time to focus more on teaching. 

 “I’ve been considering handing it off to someone else, but it’s hard because it’s something I’ve invested five years of my life in,” she said.