News from Across Rowland Unifed School District

Superintendent's Message

Rowland Unified Superintendent Dr. Mitchell welcomes Blandford Bears on the first day of school.

Welcome Back to the 2022-2023 School Year!


It was wonderful to see the happy faces of our students, staff and families on August 8 as we began our new school year. Our staff was hard at work all summer preparing for our students to arrive and we are so glad you are here. We are looking forward to an exciting year of connection, innovative learning and joy! Our teachers and staff can’t wait to meet families at Back-to-School nights that are in-person this month and next. Please be sure to check your school calendar for upcoming events and activities.


As we kick off this new school year, I remind you that our Nutrition Services department is proud to serve ALL students a free nutritious breakfast and lunch daily. The breakfast schedule for your school can be found on your school website or by calling the school office.


We remain vigilant to keep our schools healthy and safe for our students and staff. In addition to the many precautions we have implemented, such as thermal scanners to screen temperatures at entrance areas, upgraded heating and air conditioning systems, HEPA filters in every classroom, touchless water bottle filling stations in all schools, and hand sanitizer at classroom and gathering area entrances, the District continues to offer to our staff, students and families free COVID Testing daily from 11:30 AM – 6 PM at the District Office. A COVID Vaccine Clinic is available every Friday by appointment only, with vaccines offered for infants, children, and adults as well as boosters. Should you have any school COVID related questions, please feel free to reach out to our COVID Response Team at


Thank you for your support and partnership for a successful school year! We appreciate you! Keep Connected with us @RowlandSchools #We Are RUSD


With Gratitude,

Julie Mitchell, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

First Week Activities Across the District

Pictured below: Northam Elementary Knights welcome back families; Shelyn Elementary Dual Mandarin Teacher Ms. May Fu with Kindergartners; Yorbita Elementary Kindergartners excited on their first day of school; Hollingworth Elementary held a "Block Party" to welcome back families; Oswalt Academy rolled out the red carpet for their TK/Kindergarten families.

Have a 4-5 Year Old?

We Are Saving a Seat For You!

It's Not Too Late to Enroll for

TK or Kindergarten

Please share with family and friends that it is not too late to enroll our youngest learners for an exciting school year!

Transitional Kindergarten: Students who turn

5 years old between September 2, 2022 - March 31, 2023.

Kindergarten: Children who turn 5 years old on or before September 1, 2022.


Welcome Back Raiders!

Pictured below: Rowland High School celebrated the first week of school with a huge welcome back rally for all students and staff. Organized by ASB, students filled the bleachers as they cheered for performances, including Rowland Raider teachers joining the dance team. A parade of the school's 54 student clubs held banners to encourage membership.

Join Us For RUSD Family Night at The First Rowland High School Football Game @7 PM TONIGHT

Students Compete in National Championships

Rowland High School Future Business Leaders of America students (pictured above) and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) students were recognized by the Board of Education at the August 11, 2022 Meeting for competing this summer at nationals.

Congratulations to Rowland High School Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) students and Advisors Caroline Manookian and Peter Jacoy who worked hard all year and earned the opportunity to compete at the 2022 FBLA National Championships Conference in Chicago this past summer. These Raiders came home with the following awards:

  • Allen Li 2nd Place – Introduction to Business Concepts
  •  Joshua Kim and Melody Dao – Made 2nd round/15th place in Entrepreneurship.

Rowland High School’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) students competed at the 2022 National Leadership Conference in San Diego. The California delegation proudly had more than 100 members attend and over 40 members compete!

Congratulations to Nicole Rinaldi and Emily Cheng (pictured) who earned a Silver Medal for their creative use of space for a family with an autistic 6-year-old child. A big shout out to Advisor Tracy Taylor and Teacher Michael Frausto who once again helped out with the floor plan and printing! 

Nogales Nobles Make it to Nationals

Congratulations to Nogales High School graduates Sydney Lou and Ashley Bowers (pictured) who competed in the winter and placed in the top 5 in “Public Health” and the final rounds of “Nursing Assisting” at the state Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) leadership conference. The team was invited to represent California at the National HOSA Leadership conference this past summer. The conference brings together future health professionals from many high schools across the country. Congratulations to these Nobles and advisor Health Instructor Melanie Montgomery for this achievement.

Administrator Spotlights

RUSD Cabinet (left to right): Deputy Superintendent Alejandro Flores, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Brian Huff, Superintendent Dr. Julie Mitchell and Assistant Superintendent Dennis Bixler.

Assistant Superintendent of Education Services Dr. Brian Huff

Brian Huff, Ed.D., is a familiar face and humble leader in the Rowland Unified family, serving as an instructional leader for more than 22 years. He is excited to step into a new role, as Assistant Superintendent of Education Services. He has played an integral role in the vision, implementation and support of major technology innovations across the District, garnering national recognitions.

Dr. Huff has a laser-focus on student growth and achievement and passion to provide learning opportunities and inclusion for all students. His career in Rowland Unified began in 2008 as a program specialist at Alvarado Intermediate. He is a National Board-Certified Teacher in English as a New Language, and is a distinguished presenter in state and national educational forums on digital equity, the power of capturing student voice, reimagining classrooms with online teaching, and motivating English Language Learners.

Huff shares, “I am extremely proud of the work this District does to make sure each and every student reaches their full potential. I am ready to roll up my sleeves, work with students, families, staff, and our amazing Educational Services team, the Cabinet and Board, to continue making this a reality each and every day for our students.”

Rowland Unified welcomes Marcela Valadez, Ed.D.,  as Assistant Principal of Nogales High School. Dr. Valadez brings a wealth of instructional leadership in multi-tiered systems of supports and interventions for students, implementing systems for student growth and academic achievement, and collaboratively working with parents and education partners. She brings more than 14 years as a high school educator, beginning her career as a Literature, ELD and Journalism teacher at Bell Gardens High School. Dr. Valadez is passionate about supporting English Language Learners and meeting the educational needs of all students. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and both her Master’s and Doctorate of Education from the University of California, Los Angeles.


“I am excited to join the Noble family. The teachers, staff and admin team do an amazing job in service of students and families and I can’t wait to contribute to that effort!”

Cristina Canales, Assistant Principal at Santana High School and Rowland Virtual Learning Academy:

Cristina Canales is no stranger in Rowland Unified, beginning her career in RUSD as a first-grade Dual Language Immersion teacher at Hurley Elementary. She soared to Telesis Academy, where she fostered a culture of inquiry and helped support science and math teaching and learning strategies for students and staff for more than 10 years serving as a teacher and school site TOSA. Last year, she jumped into action when promoted to Assistant Principal of Santana High School. She is excited to expand her leadership role, also serving as Assistant Principal of the Rowland Virtual Learning Academy. RVLA is the District’s newest online school that opened for the 2022-2023 school year, serving TK-6 students.


"I am extremely honored and blessed to work amongst such an amazingly talented group of educators, and I want to extend my sincerest thank you to the Rowland Unified team for your continued kindness, guidance, and support. I am excited about this wonderful opportunity and look forward to serving and supporting our Santana High School and the Rowland Virtual Learning Academy students, families, and community.”

Kristine Naramore, Nutrition Services Operations Manager: Rowland Unified welcomes Kristine Naramore, MS, RD, as our new Nutrition Services Operations Manager. Kristine is a Registered Dietitian and comes to us from Ontario Montclair School District, where she worked extensively on menu planning, recipe development, food safety and nutrition education. She has worked to mentor dietetic interns throughout her time as an RD and served as a chapter president for the California School Nutrition Association, encouraging food service department team members to become active in the child nutrition association. Kristine specializes in child nutrition and is committed to promoting child wellness and serving healthy, fresh and delicious meals to the students in RUSD.

Stacy Berrest, Director of Special Education:

Stacy Berrest has served as the Coordinator of Special Education with the Rowland Unified School District for three years and was appointed as the Director of Special Education in June. Prior to joining the Rowland family, Stacy worked in both the private sector and in public education. She began her career in public education as a middle school teacher and has also served as an instructional coach and program specialist. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development and her master’s degree in Education from California State University, Fullerton. Stacy is an advocate for all students and is committed to empowering all educational partners to establish inclusive practices that are seamlessly integrated into all schools in RUSD.

Felipe Partida, Assistant Principal of Nogales High School: Felipe Partida has been part of the Rowland Unified Family for 27 years in a variety of roles, including an Instructional Assistant, Educational Specialist, BEST TOSA, Intervention Coordinator, and has supported both football and wrestling at Nogales High School. He is excited to now serve in the role as Assistant Principal at Nogales High School. Partida has experience as a Department Chair in Special Education, as an Association of Rowland Educators Representative and High School Segment Director. He enjoys working with teachers and students and in his free time, the great outdoors.

“I am truly blessed to support the students, families, and the staff at Nogales High School. I am looking forward to building relationships and partnerships within the community. I’m excited to help move Nogales forward with every stakeholder.”

August 19, 2022 Issue RUSD News Editor

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