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A new face at the school district office

  • Tony Roehrick looking at notes during his first board meeting. Photo by Jane Peleti

By: Irene Hilsendager
December 28, 2018

The interim superintendent is Tony Roehrick who was born in Eureka, Ca. and after his kindergarten year moved to a small farming community south of Eureka called Shively, Ca. Shortly thereafter the great flood of northern Ca. wiped out that small population as they lived in a canyon area near the Eel River and everything flooded forcing the family to re-locate when Tony finished up his first year stint in a local school and during his second grade year, the family moved south to Santa Rosa.

Growing up in Santa Rosa, he attended Bennett Valley School, Slater Junior High and Montgomery High School. As of today Roehrick still maintains his Santa Rosa residency.

When asked why he went into education for a career he said it was a path sort of led by John Brandenburg, a teacher at his old school. Coming from a hard working family, while a senior in high school, he was washing dishes at the Painted House restaurant, was then invited by Brandenburg to come and volunteer at the school, helped with work study, did yard duty and then moved into classrooms.

He went to many educational institutions. He received his teaching credentials at Sonoma State university, his administrative certificate at Berkeley, then transferred to SSU again to finish his master’s and went on to get his doctorate from the University of Laverne, Ca.

He never thought too much about the administration side of schools but an old friend needed candidates for an administrator so he went for it. The friend said “even if you don’t use it, just put it into your back pocket, some day you may need it.” He then started in a program with a possibility of being a principal. Since Tony had always taught in Sonoma County schools an opportunity came along when he was offered an assistant principal ship at Mt, Diablo and stayed there for four years. While in Petaluma and working to getting his doctorate, he was superintendent at Alexander Valley staying there for three years and also at Bellevue Union School District for five years.

Tony mentioned he was offered a dream job at Cabrillo Unified School District down along the coast, but after one year his wife felt isolated and begged to return to Santa Rosa where family resided. He tried commuting for several years but as always it became old hat.

Tony is married to wife, Laura has two daughters and now has five grandchildren from 5 weeks to five years in age.

He loves to garden. There is nothing better than harvesting a crop of home-grown tomatoes. Tony has gardening in his blood with a father grown up in North Dakota and a mother from New Mexico and after his parents’ marriage came to Ca. He would like to golf more but time restriction forces him to set the clubs aside at times. Tony loves to hike with his family and since Sonoma County has such beautiful trails, Saturdays will find him with family and four dogs on Taylor Mt., Annadel or Goat Rock.

Coming to the CRPUSD is a very large challenge as he wants to make sure that all are aligned for the purpose of educating children. Coming into the district with the biggest post-election and sitting at the meeting and board before the election, he has to make sure those folks (board) will focus on student programs instead of politics.

Tony said he really wasn’t prepared for the budget at the meeting and now much work has to be done and the board will have to focus on producing a budget for next year. He said he has been there in downturns and is not unfamiliar with the process. Yes, he has anxiety but he appreciates each one and even though there is a probability that cuts will be made directly or indirectly, but he always looks for job safety.

The convening budget commission will meet in Jan. to lay out the budget and he wants to make sure the money and budget will be prioritized and only then will he know where reductions will take place and with five people on the board which are informed by a committee project on how to develop a new budget he is quite sure everything will work out.

Roehrick says there will be an increase in resources. With all the new developments in progress, the community is growing and the growth of population, he will be more pro-active and focus on the district. From elementary to high school, he wants to do a better job in the community and let all know there is value in school kids. And for the other projects sitting in line, the tide will turn for that also.

The shop program was closed down as the district was unable to find a certified shop teacher. He is looking at Career Educational Education and partnering with the Santa Rosa Junior College to where the high school kids can transfer to the JC. Students in high school are only engaged being relevant and engaging with their teachers.

Tony said, “The biggest thing is our district is I am here to educate and serve the students.” He continued, “many come to school diminished in life- a typical life we all want and be economical stable. We as a community have to work together and become a reality.”

Roehrick has an eight-month contract so his term of service will carry the district through the rest of the 2018-2019 school year.