Administrative Team Changes

New Faces/New Roles
We are excited to announce key leadership assignments that reflect our ongoing commitment an environment that promotes wellness, excellence, safety and equity - an environment where everyone, staff and students alike, have the opportunity to thrive.

Kevin BuchananIn March, we announced the new LGHS Principal, Kevin Buchanan.  Kevin finished the year at Oak Park High School and officially joined us on July 1, 2021 and became a true Wildcat.  We appreciate all his work so far to begin the transition.

Jamal SplaneWe are very excited to announce the hiring of Dr. Jamal Splane as the Director of School Culture, Climate and Curriculum and Instruction.  Dr. Splane joins our district from Oak Grove School District in San Jose.  Going into his twenty-third year in education, Dr. Splane has served in a variety of leadership positions including school psychologist, Director of Student Services/Special Education, and six years as principal of Bernal Intermediate School in Oak Grove.  

As principal, he collaboratively created the school mission, vision and instructional plan known as the “Pillars of Success” at Bernal.  Those pillars ensured his school 1) provided a safe school climate, 2) worked together with intention, 3) cultivated school spirit and school pride, 4) provided instruction that is rigorous, relevant and promoted positive relationships for all stakeholders.  Bernal received an Honorable Mention for Safe School Climate by Project Cornerstone (2019), and was recognized as a California Distinguished School Award (2019).  He has received several awards as principal including the Principal Arts Leadership Award (2019) by the Santa Clara County Office of Education, Middle Grades Principal of the Year (2020) by the Association of California School Administrators, and Middle School Site Administrator of the Year (2020) from the California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators. 

The youngest of nine children and as part of a military family,  Jamal grew up near Fort Ord.  He obtained a degree in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from San Jose State, a MA in Education from UC Berkeley, and a doctorate in Education from UC Berkeley.  He is guided by several key principles:  1) A commitment to student, staff and parent accomplishment through a vision of learning that is co-created by all stakeholders,  2) A commitment to nurturing and sustaining conditions where parents, students and staff can all thrive  3) Modeling a personal code of ethics and commitment to professional standard and growth,  4) Employing creativity and innovation in partnership with others to address the complex issues in education we face today.  

Dr. Splane and his wife of 25 years Claudia have two sons, David (20) and Daniel (17).  He enjoys time with family, playing golf, and rooting for the Rams, Dodgers and Lakers (sorry about that!)

Julie GrenierWe are also very grateful to Julie Grenier, previously our Director of Educational Technology and a key member of the Curriculum & Instruction team, who moved into the role of Director of Technology, vacated in 2020.  Julie has been indispensable during the Covid pandemic, juggling technology needs, bell schedules, supporting teachers and students, and working on curriculum and instruction. We are very excited to now have Julie focusing on technology leadership and oversight districtwide.

Allison StitsAllison Stits will also step into the role of Assistant Principal at LGHS.  Allison is new to our district and brings 16 years of experience in education, most recently with Somerset High School in Bellflower, CA.  Her experience includes leading several key initiatives including teacher training and mentoring focused on the integration of technology, the development of a 7-12 writing assessment, implementation of after school math clubs to build mastery of critical standards, and creating opportunities for equitable, student-centered learning environments that support culturally responsive teaching and learning.  She holds a BA from Cal State Longbeach, an MA from Concordia University and is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Educational Leadership with a focus on Equity and Social Justice.  

Heath RochaHeath Rocha will assume the role of Assistant Superintendent of Student Services having served LGSUHSD as our Chief Officer of Student Services since 2016. This title change reflects the increased scope of work to support our students’ social/emotional well being and a climate where everyone feels welcome and safe;  as well as Mr. Rocha’s history of exemplary and innovative leadership. 

Mr. Rocha has led the district’s response to concerns about school climate and safety, resulting in key initiatives including educational modules and tiered interventions for individual students and all students such as the WeTip anonymous reporting system, dedicated instructional time for student lessons and activities on topics such as sexual assault/assault prevention, bullying/cyberbullying, suicide prevention, academic stress, integrity and diversity and inclusion. It is especially inspiring that he was able to introduce and implement many of these initiatives during remote learning.  And, as we begin the new school year, he has also expanded these supports to include Wellness Centers at each site that will provide physical and mental health interventions, substance abuse resources and other services.  These centers will be staffed by CASSY providers and in-house lead therapists.  Dedicated School Resource Aides will serve as Youth Outreach Workers (YOWs) to provide a consistent presence in the Wellness Centers to connect with students, manage referrals, coordinate with other key community partners and services as needed. In addition to the in-person services, Mr. Rocha has also brought Talk Space to our campuses, which provides access for every student and staff member to a licensed therapist, including messaging therapy and live video sessions.  This platform strives to make therapy more accessible and less stigmatic.

Mr. Rocha joined the district in 2016, coming to us from Monterey and Carmel school districts, where he held many key leadership positions in special education and student services. Since then, he has also been a passionate advocate for our students with special needs and, in 2019, was selected by the Association of California School Administrator, Region 8 (Santa Clara County), as the Special Education Administrator of the Year.  Mr. Rocha also received the Special Education Administrator of the Year award in 2011 from Region 10 (Monterey County). 

Abra EvanoffAbra Evanoff will be joining the Saratoga High administrative team on August 18th as an Assistant Principal. She began her career in education 25 years ago and has worked in administration for the past 13 years.  She comes to us from our neighbor, Campbell Union High School District where she has served in key leadership roles since 2013 including assistant principal, student services director and principal. During this time, Abra has taken on many community-wide roles including the Title IX Coordinator, District law enforcement liaison and the trainer for Mental Health First Aid for Youth.  Prior to working in Campbell, Abra served the San Lorenzo Unified School District as assistant principal from 2008 to 2013.  

She has 25 years of experience in education, 13 of which have been in administration, and is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) at St. Mary’s College.  She has two children in college:  her daughter is a junior at Washington State University, and her son is a 2021 graduate of University Nevada Reno.
  
Mariam FanMariam Fan, currently a Chinese teacher at SHS, will be assuming the role of “TOSA” (Teacher on Special Assignment) for the district.   Mariam has been with the district for 20 years and, in her new role as TOSA, she will be supporting various district initiatives by supporting a culture of lifelong learning and professional growth for staff.  Mariam herself is a true lifelong learner, having become a Google Certified Educator, Apple Teacher, Google Master and Ed Tech Leader.  She has served on the district’s SEL team, our Climate and Culture Advisory Group, and supported professional development for staff.  She has taught English, Chinese and web design and has designed district curriculum using Canvas Learning Management and G-suite and Chinese language instruction curriculum for Carnegie Learning.

She holds a BA in English, ESL and Linguistics from National Chengchi University, a MA from National Taiwan University, an MA in Instructional Tech and Computer Education from Cal State LA.  Mariam is committed to supporting teachers and cultivating a school community that supports mental health and wellbeing.  When she gets a moment in her busy schedule, she also enjoys Tai Chi and gardening!

LGSUHSD remains committed to ensuring a supportive, safe and equitable teaching and learning environment for students and staff and these appointments will be pivotal in furthering that goal.  Please join me in welcoming these incredible individuals to our leadership team in their new roles.

Please join us in welcoming these exceptional leaders in their new roles to our team!

Sincerely, 

Michael Grove, Ed.D. 
Superintendent