Board Support & Communications Specialist
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Francis Rojas will become Principal of Milpitas High School (MHS) on July 1 after a 15-year career in education at James Logan High School, considered one of Northern California’s largest high schools with nearly 4,000 students and among the most diverse student populations in the Bay Area.
In Closed Session on Tuesday (May 23), the Milpitas Unified School District Board of Education approved Superintendent Cheryl Jordan’s recommendation for Rojas, currently schoolwide Vice Principal at James Logan High School in Union City, as the new Principal.
“In my conversations with Francis this week, he has already embraced MHS and Milpitas as his school and community,” Jordan said Wednesday. “He refers to them as ‘our school’ and ‘our community’; this speaks to his commitment to US. I'm thrilled for the students, parents, and staff at MHS. With Francis, we have an opportunity to collaborate in a way that will forge a renewed compact with one another grounded in a Culture of We.”
During her report in Open Session, Jordan introduced and congratulated Rojas on the appointment. After being recognized, he came forward to thank the Superintendent and Board Members during a brief speech.
“Aside from the similarities between the demographics and size of James Logan and Milpitas high schools, it is the ‘Culture of We’ that really attracted me to seek out this principalship as the next chapter in my vocation as an educator,” Rojas said. “On the evening of Friday, March 31, I experienced first hand the ‘Culture of We’ at Milpitas High School’s Trojan Olympics. I saw school spirit, unity, cooperation, collaboration and so much more from the students, staff, and parents who were participating. I have never seen that level of engagement and positivity at a student led event in my life. And that’s coming from an activities director.”
He continued: “Moreover, in the interview process, the presence and participation of staff and parents in the stakeholder panels and their willingness to share their ideas with me about what makes them proud to be part of our learning community, our accomplishments, but also able to share their challenges and critiques of the past few years. That manifests the ‘Culture of We.’ In both celebration and challenge, we must be united.”
Rojas began at James Logan as a science teacher and worked his way up to student activities director, five years as a House Principal, and the last two years as the school-wide Vice Principal directly supporting the work of the Principal. In Rojas’ current position, among many duties, he designs, programs, and implements the Master Schedule for teachers and 4,000 students including working with a team of school counselors, department heads, and administrators, as well as leading the Science Department in the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards, and Career Technical Education Departments as the liaison to the Mission Valley Regional Occupation Program and Ohlone Community College. With his background in music, Rojas was also the administrator in charge of the Visual and Performing Arts Department, including Logan’s nationally-acclaimed Forensic Speech and Debate, Marching Band and Colorguard, and Vocal Music programs.
“In a few weeks it will be 20 years since my own graduation day from James Logan, and I feel I am again commencing on a new journey and chapter in my life,” Rojas said. “Through all my experience as a teacher, student activities director, and school administrator, I have held firm to my values and philosophy that public education, guided by common vision and strong, shared leadership, must provide ALL students with a safe environment and equitable opportunities to learn, whether it is in the classroom through rigorous, standards-based curriculum and personalized, research-based teaching and learning practices, or outside the classroom through a variety of experiences that allow students to make choices and practice what they have learned to build character, integrity, and contribute to our local and global community.”
He is known for demonstrated outcomes as an instructional and organizational leader, from curriculum development to master scheduling, instructional coaching, community outreach, building positive school culture, facilities improvement, and budget and finance.
Rojas’ colleagues have shared he is a balanced leader with a variety of strengths, including being a team player, sincere, compassionate, perceptive and very involved in student life. He has often been referred to as the “heart” of the school.
Rojas graduated Summa Cum Laude from James Logan High School in 1997 and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Integrative Biology from the University of California at Berkeley in 2001. Rojas earned his Biological Sciences Teaching Credential with Introductory Science Supplement from California State University at Hayward in partnership with the New Haven Unified School District Single Subject and Beginning Teacher Induction Programs. In 2009, he returned to UC Berkeley as a member of Cohort 10 of the Principal Leadership Institute of the Graduate School of Education and earned his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Preliminary Administrative Services Credential in 2010. Rojas earned his Professional Clear Administrative Services Credential in 2013 through the Leadership Support Program at UC Berkeley.
Rojas has also been involved with a number of professional associations, including as an Area B Council Member representing Alameda County for the California Association of Directors of Activities (CADA), a group that honored him in 2012-13 as Advisor of the Year. He was a volunteer for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), Member of Cohort 38 for the Human Systems Dynamics Institute (HSD), member of New Haven Pilipino-American Society for Education (NH PASE), and charter member for the James Logan High School Alumni Association. Rojas was also the former Director of Music and Liturgy at St. Anne Catholic Church in Union City from 2000-2007, and Liturgy Coordinator at St. Joseph-Old Mission San Jose in Fremont from 2007-2010.
Watch the full video of Rojas’ speech during the May 23 Board Meeting online now.