Popular principal exits after 13 years
By Mackenzie Carmen
woodlake – After serving as Castle Rock Elementary School’s principal for 13 years, Robert Gonzales is moving on to Cutler, Orosi Joint Unified School District. Gonzales’ will now be Orosi’s Alternative Education Administrator. He will oversee four different schools including a continuation high school, adult education school and an online school.
“I spent the past 13 years at the same site. An opportunity came up, and I wanted to pursue going back into the secondary setting, “said Gonzales. “I enjoyed the camaraderie I had at Woodlake Unified School District. It’s a great district. It has great leaders. It was just time to pursue other options.”
Prior to becoming an elementary administrator, Gonzales actually worked in a secondary school setting. For six years, he worked as a teacher and coach at Redwood High School. In 2004, he joined on as Castle Rock’s elementary principal, and led the staff through changes such as converting standardized testing to Common Core.
“What he did was bring a user friendly, collegial approach,” noted Woodlake Superintendent Drew Sorensen who added, “He always has his eyes on the prize.”
While some staff members and community members were upset to see Gonzales go after so long at the school district, Gonzales said he is excited for the future and to “explore” his new opportunity in Orosi.
“I really enjoy where I’m working right now,” said Gonzales who has already helped Cutler, Orosi with graduation events. Gonzales says Cutler is a similar school in terms of demographics to Woodlake, and he hopes his experience at Castle Rock will aid him in his new educational adventure.
“I had secondary experience for six years so it’s not like I was totally green to working with big kids. I’ve had the experience of working with big kids and small kids,” noted Gonzales.
Now, Castle Rock has hired a new principal, Jason Trevino who was an assistant principal at Cutler, Orosi. An Orosi native, Trevino attended Fresno State where he received his bachelors degree in Social Science. He then went on to achieve his single subject teaching credential, also from Fresno State.
Soon after, Trevino began working at Orosi High School as a Social Science teacher. He took on many leadership positions to work his way up the ranks. Trevino coached two league championship golf teams, served on a technology committee and was named department head all before being promoted to assistant principal.
Despite his career in secondary education, Trevino said he’s always had an interest in elementary school. “I’ve always thought of being an elementary school administrator. That was always my goal,” explained Trevino. “Now I’m accomplishing that goal and dream of mine to be an educational leaders for an elementary school.”
Trevino said he felt right at home in Woodlake and loves the “small town feel.” He said he identifies with the students of Castle Rock because he has a very similar background. His parents were farm workers, and he’s a first generation college student.
“One of the things that attracted me to Castle Rock was the demographics and the types of students I would serve, “ said Trevino.
Trevino first goal for himself is to get to know the students, community and staff. After that, he wants to focus on reading and creating fun, interactive activities and strategies that will develop a positive atmosphere for elementary students. He hopes this will inspire students to become life long learners.
Another position was recently filled in Woodlake’s district office. Sara Luquin will begin as the Family Resource Center director following the school board’s expected approval. Superintendent Sorensen believes her previous work with non-profits will make Luquin a perfect match for the job.