Lynbrook welcomes Susan Rocha and Jeff Rosado as new assistant principals


Photos used with permission of Jeff Rosado and Susan Rocha; graphic illustration by Diana Kohr and Amy Liu

Apart from their assistant principal responsibilities, Rosado and Rocha both enjoy personal hobbies, some of which they picked up during quarantine.

Diana Kohr and Amy Liu

With the beginning of the school year in full swing, many changes have occurred, both related and unrelated to the pandemic. School has shifted to online learning, class schedules have been altered and there are new faces on staff. This year, Susan Rocha has assumed the position of assistant principal of activities, while Jeff Rosado has become the new assistant principal of school climate. 

Before coming to Lynbrook High School (LHS), both Rocha and Rosado were assistant principals at Fremont High School (FHS) for four years and eight years, respectively. Additionally, Rocha attended Cupertino High School (CHS) as a teenager, and after college, she returned to CHS to teach English for twenty years. So while new to LHS, neither are strangers to the FUHSD culture. 

I will miss the community, the people that I worked with [at FHS] and had gotten to know for four years,” Rocha said. “I think [it’s] similar to how high school seniors feel when they graduate after four years. FHS is an amazing place to work, and people do amazing things there. I will miss that community for sure, but I know I will build new relationships here.” 

Similarly, Rosado has been working as an educator for 18 years, starting in 2003 as a split-assignment Spanish teacher, teaching at LHS for part of the day and at CHS for the rest. Over the following eight years, he taught history and ASB leadership at CHS. After serving as the assistant principal at FHS, he came full circle back to LHS. 

“I was excited to come back to Lynbrook, even though I have a lot of love for FHS, the school that I graduated from,” Rosado said. “I learned a lot, made great connections with staff and students, but there’s also room for growth. I was excited about the opportunity to come to a different school and learn a little bit more about what makes Lynbrook so special.”

On the other hand, Lynbrook’s previous assistant principal of activities, Brooke Chan, will be working at FHS this year as a guidance counselor. Thirteen years ago, Chan started off at FUHSD as a guidance counselor, and then went on to work in administration at HHS and LHS. Chan’s pre-pandemic responsibilities included attending weekly meetings with ASB to discuss different projects, overseeing clubs and the club approval process and helping the leadership class grow.

While Rocha and Rosado are both assistant principals, they are each responsible for a certain set of students and their assistant principal jobs differ. As the assistant principal of activities, Rocha works with ASB Adviser Jason Lee and ASB student leadership to coordinate student-run activities on campus, such as clubs, and to help build, support and serve the LHS community. This semester, Rocha plans to transition clubs to an online platform and to engage students virtually. Currently, plans for this school year are still being formulated. 

“I think we’re still trying to wrap our brains around [activities] — what are they going to look like in this remote setting?” Rocha said. 

Similarly, in the past year, Chan found that the pandemic changed almost everything about her responsibilities. Without school activities, such as prom and spirit weeks, Chan and ASB had to think creatively. Even planning graduation was difficult, with the goal of honoring the class of 2020 restricted by the pandemic. Though the pandemic really brought down the mood, Chan found that being able to meet with her students virtually was very fulfilling.

 “I would still meet with the IDC group and the leadership class. Seeing the students, even though it was on a screen, meant the world to me,” Chan said. “When we went into shelter in place, it could feel really isolating, and you could feel alone. Being able to see them on their screen really fulfilled me, even though it was not the same as in person.”

Nonetheless, Chan believes that Rocha will perform admirably as the new assistant principal of activities. Having collaborated with Rocha on a past project, Chan is familiar with her passion and drive. 

“Ms. Rocha comes to you with a lot of experience,” Chan said. “She was a teacher for many years. She knows what it’s like to run a school and she’s capable.”

Though remote learning presents uncertainty and challenges this year, Rocha is enthusiastic that ASB and teachers have great plans in the works. 

As the assistant principal of school climate, Rosado’s job involves building a healthy school community, promoting school spirit, as well as respectful behavior and safety. This year especially, Rosado is focusing on issues of equity.

“The other big part of my work this year will be about really deepening the conversation around antiracism and the events of the summer,” Rosado said. “We saw a nationwide protest after George Floyd’s murder and the result in the Black Lives Matter movement. We’re going to meet that head on and have conversations with students, staff and families. Part of my work will be to help spearhead those conversations.”

Rosado acknowledges that these conversations may be more difficult to initiate when students and staff cannot meet face-to-face. However, he emphasizes that this is the best time to bring up these issues, and that the entire community needs to support the initiative.

His conversation plans about equity are part of a district-wide effort, which includes learning modules on Schoology that every student in the district will have to complete. Rosado estimates that there will be a few of these modules each semester, including one students engaged in on the second day of school, in which they learned how to respond to hate speech in person and online. 

“What I’ll be working on, with a lot of help from students, staff and families, is what equity means at Lynbrook,” Rosado said. “We have some really good information that will come from the district, but we also want to talk about how this plays out at Lynbrook. So there are two parts: sharing information that the district provides and looking at ourselves and seeing how we can do better.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only affected regular responsibilities and protocols, but has also affected Rocha and Rosado’s transition into the office, since it is more difficult to get to know and make connections with other staff members. 

“Zoom fatigue is real,” Rosado said. “We’ve been having staff meetings with all 150 Lynbrook staff members online. You can only see 20 or 30 people at a time on the screen. Even then, they might not be looking directly at their cameras, so you can see them, but you’re not really having a conversation with them.”

Furthermore, the pandemic has helped Rocha reevaluate what she’s taken for granted in the past. Thinking back on her work at FHS, she reminisces about the ability to walk around the office and interact with others without having a mask on. 

“It’s very strange to come here and meet so many people and not actually be able to see them in person,” Rocha said. 

Still, she remains optimistic about the future. She has heard that LHS is a very spirited community and is excited to experience that in a virtual atmosphere. She is also looking forward to seeing the creative ideas that teachers have come up with brought to life and cannot wait to virtually visit classrooms to experience classes in action. 

Speaking of school spirit, Chan’s favorite memories at LHS have come from Homecoming. At LHS, Homecoming is unique like no other, with the community coming together to create something big and meaningful. 

“You hear about Homecoming, but there’s no way you can fully know what Homecoming is like at Lynbrook until you experience it,” Chan said. “The gauntlets in the morning, the skits, just everything, the dances, the backdrops were amazing, all the decorations. For me, Homecoming took on a special place in my heart.” 

Chan will also miss the LHS staff, many of whom she formed close bonds with. Chan believes that the students here at LHS are out of this world, and she still keeps in touch with some of the former ASB presidents. 

While Lynbrook students are getting to know Rosado as the assistant principal of school climate, he is also the father of two HHS alumni. One of his children will be starting as a freshman in college this year, so Rosado planned an RV trip to Boulder, Colorado with his family to drop off his child. His daughter, a junior at Yale, plans to take a gap year to work at an internship, mainly due to the uncertainties of remote learning. 

“There will be a challenge of having both of my kids out of the house,” Rosado said. “My wife and I are going to be empty nesters now, so we want to have a strategy to not get bogged down or miss them too much. It’s going to be difficult, because we can’t go to restaurants and we can’t do all the things that we normally do. We will have to spend some more time getting creative about being empty nesters.” 

Fortunately, Rosado has a few personal interests and hobbies that he picked up during quarantine. Recently, he began disc golfing and has been going to a nearby disc golf course to step up his game. Rosado is also a Level 37 Pokémon GO trainer, as he has been playing the game for several years. He enjoys visiting PokéStops and Poké Gyms as he walks his dogs and gets fresh air. 

Chan has been busy preparing for the opening of school as well as supporting her three children as they return to school. With little free time on her hands, Chan values the trips she took with her family to the beach, her happy place. Watching her children play in the sand makes her incredibly relaxed and content. 

Outside of school, Rocha is an avid exerciser, reader and sports fan. This year, she is looking forward to supporting her two daughters in college and junior year, while continuing to be active in the anti-racism movement. 

“I spent a lot of time with my daughters this summer,” Rocha said. “We’ve had a lot of really good conversations about what our role is in [anti-racism], and we attended some of the rallies. I’m looking forward to continuing to be a part of that conversation for how we can make our world and our communities a safer and more inclusive place for everybody. I’m hopeful that there will be movement in that, moving forward in 2020.” 

Rocha believes that the new training at school for anti-racism and counterspeech is very important to the school and community. 

Despite the uncertainties and difficulties of the pandemic, our new assistant principals encourage the LHS community not to lose hope and to stay strong. Rosado advises students to step into their teachers’ shoes and understand that everyone is going through a learning curve. 

“When it feels really dark and difficult, you have to hold on to that hope,” Rocha said. “There’s a lot of people who are struggling right now, so I would just want to remind everyone to lean on each other. My overall life motto is all about kindness, and the more that we can practice kindness to ourselves and to the people around us, the better the world will be.”