Newsome High School Principal Katie Rocha with her assistant principals after being surprised with the Principal of the Year award.

By Ariana Pedraza

Congratulations are in order for Newsome High School Principal Katie Rocha, who was recently named Hillsborough County Public School’s Principal of the Year.

Rocha has been the principal of Newsome for three years. Her background in education began with her mother, who was an educator in Poland. At 16, Rocha and her parents immigrated to Brandon. She graduated from Brandon High School and later got her Bachelor of Arts and Science degree and her master’s in educational leadership from the University of South Florida. She taught chemistry at Bloomingdale Senior High School for eight years and at Blake High School for one year.

Rocha was selected to be Principal of the Year through a process involving nominations from district principals, regional superintendents and other members of the superintendent’s cabinet. The award is given to the principal who exemplifies leadership and that can create the best environment for students, faculty and staff.

“Mrs. Rocha is so inspirational and allows her master schedule to be diverse to give opportunities to her students. She has such a willingness and mindset to create a positive place, and I am proud of her.” said Hillsborough County Superintendent Addison Davis.

“Mrs. Rocha taught me how to be successful at being an instructional leader. I appreciate her hard work for Newsome High School,” said assistant principal Dr. Chera Jones.

Paul Lindstrom, assistant principal for administration, said, “… Her work ethic is unmatched, and she expects the same from her staff; she would not ask anyone to do something she would not do herself.”

“Mrs. Rocha is a powerhouse principal who holds herself, and her staff, to high expectations. Her energy is outstanding, and her love of students makes her the best choice for this award,” said Stacie Cleary, assistant principal for curriculum.

Rocha was surprised with the award at school on a Spirit Day. She was asked not to dress according to the theme for the day and was dismayed because she did not know why she could not dress up. She was surprised by her assistant principals and the superintendent, who presented her with the award.

“It was a very exciting day, and it is an honor to receive this award. All the credit goes to the faculty, staff, students and community. Newsome would not be the place it is without them,” said Rocha.

When not at school, Rocha enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons, and especially enjoys traveling.

From the community, congratulations Principal Rocha!

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