Introducing the new and old faces of the RUHS staff

Jeffrey Rosadini

After working at RUHS for 18 years, Jeffrey Rosadini, proudly enters his 19th year with a new role as an assistant principal. 

“I just really, really love this school. There’s something special I’ve found about Redondo; the community, the staff here, the kids here, the pride that people have in Redondo, it’s something amazing,” Rosadini said. “I don’t know if I can put it into words, but when you’ve been here as long as I have, you feel it.”

 Through his years at RUHS, Rosadini has climbed the ranks of staff. From being a teacher for nine years to being the department chair for seven years to being a TOSA, teacher on special assignment, for the last two years. Rosadini has a lot of experience serving in the district and dealing with students. 

“A lot of times when new administrators come in, they have to get to know the lay of the land. I think being here for almost two decades is a plus for me,” Rosadini said. “Also, I feel it’s a positive that a lot of kids already know me on campus. I want them to know that no matter what my title is, I’m always Mr. Rosadini, the guy that helps people.”

Rosadini wants to assure the school has a cleaner environment, and that teachers are promoted and supported, while also helping students pursue their interests.

“I know what’s worked and what hasn’t worked, and I want to push us forward on things that I think we need to move forward [on,]” Rosadini said. “I’m always keeping one eye on the present, and how we can make this school functional, accessible, and excellent for students.”

Being here for as long as he has, Rosadini has not only focused on enhancing the school’s campus, but he’s also always admired the “spirit of the school”, and wants to continue honoring and taking pride in the history of RUHS.

 “I was here on the 100th anniversary of RUHS and it was just amazing,” Rosadini said. “I want to continue respecting the over 100 years of history because we have wonderful alumni and wonderful history here.”

 Although his job is “very time-consuming,” Rosadini enjoys being busy and active on his feet, especially when working towards a future that he finds to be extremely gratifying. He feels that this gratifying feeling is the reason why he comes to school with a smile on his face.

“I’ve been working in education for almost a quarter century, if not longer. What I love is getting to see kids growing and becoming better people,” Rosadini said. “Whatever I have to do to make school a great experience is my top priority because helping the youth of America become better people and citizens for tomorrow makes this a very rewarding experience for me.”


Brianne Nakayama

Brianna Nakayama, newly hired RUHS assistant principal, has always admired the thought of working at RUHS; now, with her dream brought to life, she’s thrilled to be able to work with the “fabulous” staff and the opportunity to be open and available to all students for support.

“I always want the students to feel a genuine level of care and support from me, that I’m here to listen. I think it’s important when students feel heard, especially students that are going through difficult times,” Nakayama said. “I hope I can have a relationship established where they feel I could be that safe and trusted adult for them.” 

Nakayama hopes to also assure students that they have all the various resources and help RUHS has to offer available to them to “thrive” and “be successful.”

“Sometimes it gets overwhelming because a lot of us don’t really know where to go, either who to ask or where to find those resources,” Nakayama said. “I would hope that a student feels safe enough to trust me with those problems, and then seek me out, so I can help them or direct them to their counselors, the Wellness Center, The Nest, or a teacher or peer who might be able to support with tutoring.”

In order to fulfill these ambitions, Nakayama strives to get to know and bond with students. Getting perspective into the moments where students are passionate about the programs at school is one way she plans to connect with students.

“I want to get involved in a variety of ways to support student activities on campus, like joining the castle ball event we have coming up,” Nakayama said. “I really want to take those opportunities to personally immerse myself in the campus culture here.”

Not only does she want to enhance school spirit and ensure students feel comfortable at school, but Nakayama also aims to approach issues, such as rebellious student behavior, with an organized, cooperative, and accommodating manner. 

“Students have a lot going on at school, but also in their personal lives. We want to be able to find that balance of providing support before jumping immediately into discipline or corrective action. We want to try and be solution-oriented and supportive as well,” Nakayama said.

Nakayama, at the end of the day, aspires to make RUHS a happy and secure place for students to remember and take pride in, not only at the moment but also as they get older. 

“I want to work to make Redondo Union that school that all students love to come to every day,” Nakayama said. “I want them to, after they graduate, be very fond of looking back and remembering their high school years with happiness, enthusiasm, and pride of graduating here being a Seahawk.”


Steven Oreste

Two hobbies that may appear to have very little in common at first often share a key component: passion. This is what motivated Steven Oreste, a new algebra and geometry teacher here at RUHS, to recently shift his focus from acting to teaching math.

“I have pursued a career in professional acting, so subbing was my side gig, but it was also my way to be a part of education, something that is very important to me,” Oreste said. “About five years ago, I was helping some students work through some problems in math, and I saw how excited they were. And I thought, ‘I think I found a second passion.’ I wanted to help students find success. So I worked my way through the credential program. And now I’m here – an actor and math teacher.”

After working as a substitute teacher and teaching summer school at Redondo Union, Oreste was offered a job teaching algebra and geometry. Restudying math topics like calculus, he noted the basics of algebra rooted in higher math concepts and is eager to help students build a strong math foundation by focusing on the basics before advancing to higher level math.  

“Success comes in different forms,” Oreste said. “It could be going for that A+. It could be somebody walking in the door with no clue of the math concept, but by the end of the period, they understand it a little bit more. I believe that success breeds success, and if you want that for yourself, you want that for others.”

Oreste’s passion for teaching has stemmed largely from his desire to help students navigate math territories they once didn’t understand and watching their internal “light go on.” In addition to supporting his students academically, Oreste works to create an environment that fosters student growth in all areas of their lives. 

“If you send off people who are confident and feel better about themselves, they’ll go out in the world and help other people feel better about themselves as well,” Oreste said. “My door is always open if students ever want to just talk, and hopefully, my willingness to be open and listen to students will show them that people are here to support them not only academically, but socially and emotionally as well.”

Still an actor after pursuing the art for over 20 years, Oreste notes parallels in the preparation it takes to become a successful actor and that of becoming a strong student in math class. He believes that actors must put in the work before performing, allowing them to look “seamless” on stage. Similarly, he wants his students to work hard so they can perform well on assessments and in his class.

“Nobody just gets up and becomes funny,” Oreste said. “We see all these funny people in stand up working on jokes that fail like 12 times, but when the Netflix special comes out, it’s an amazing joke because they prepared by telling that joke like 20 times or more. I see definite similarities between performing and teaching.”

In addition to helping his students succeed, Oreste works hard to lighten the classroom dynamic and alter the negative association many students have with math.

“I try to add fun to the math curriculum and make it as engaging as I can. I know typical student opinions about math and I’m here to try to make it as entertaining as possible. Maybe later this year we’ll do some dance parties or even rapping,” Oreste said. 

A father of two, Oreste hopes he will stay teaching at Redondo Union for the next 20 years and eventually watch his kids attend the school. His passion for helping students, along with the strong sense of community that Redondo offers, has inspired him to continue making a difference in the school’s culture.

“It’s been a very supportive environment,” Oreste said. “Next year, if there are new teachers, I can apply what I’ve learned to them and support them the way that I have been supported so far.”


Cecilia Pho

The counseling department at RUHS has seen an inflow of new counselors this year. One of these includes Cecelia Pho, who, after working at Paris Middle School as a counseling intern and Adams Middle school as a substitute counselor, has now settled at RUHS to work with students with last names Cas-Far.

“This year, there has been more of an investment in counseling for students so that we can meet with students more often throughout the year and provide more support,” Pho said. “I’m looking forward to being part of this bigger emphasis on counseling. Now that we have more counselors, hopefully we’ll be able to have more time to meet with students individually and really get to know and work with them to help them reach their goals through high school.”

Pho hopes to stay at Redondo for a while so she can continue assisting her students for their entire four years in high school and provide aid in any way they need.

“I want to support students academically, socially, emotionally, and help them with their career goals and whatever they want to do after high school,” Pho said. “In recent years, there has also been more focus on mental health, so I want to provide a safe space for students on campus and help them get back into life [after COVID].”

Despite working at Redondo Union for just over three weeks, Pho is grateful for the support that the other counselors have provided her as she transitions into her new job and learns more about the role. Similarly, she hopes to reciprocate this comfort with her students, letting them know that they have a support system if needed. 

“I want students to know that they are more than their academics. You have to take care of your mental health and explore things that you are interested in so you can get ready for after you graduate and also become more well-rounded,” Pho said.

Pho’s interest in counseling stems heavily from her prior experiences as a student and desire to support one of the challenges of high school: mental health. 

“I would have loved to have a school counselor I could go to when I was in school,” Pho said. “I think a lot of students go through really difficult times when they are in school. So it’s always helpful to have a safe space where you can go on campus and know that you’re supported.”

While Pho feels rewarded as she helps students through challenging times, she also enjoys simply getting to know them and watching them develop as scholars and as people.

“I love meeting students one on one and hearing about what they’re interested in and what their goals are,” Pho said. “Watching them grow and seeing who they are going to become is really exciting.”


Cristina Quintana

Cristina Quintana is  “coming back home to RUHS” and is ready to step into the shoes of a college counselor. Students are lining up at the Nest to ask her questions and set up meetings, and the class of 2023 has a new counselor to guide them through the stress and difficulty of college admission.

“I always felt super connected to the school. When I went to RUHS, I was a part of the AVID program, so the college-going process has always been something that is important to me,” Quintana said. “I also worked here as an AVID tutor from 2015 to 2017, which led me to want to continue my higher education and get my masters in school counseling.”

Quintana worked previously for an international boarding school called America Education, which partnered with Bishop Montgomery High School to provide support counselors. In this position, she helped international students with academics, social-emotional concerns, and university guidance. The Transition from Quintana’s previous positions to Nest, college, and career center, she has seen a“ bit of a learning curve.”

“ I did a lot of everything in my last position, but this position is just focused on college, and the population is a little different,” Quintana said. “I worked with only international students, and the process for college admissions is a little different. I’m trying to learn everything I can to get to know all of you guys.”

While adapting to a new position, Quintana is also stepping back into the place where she grew up. Redondo Union is where Quintana spent four years of her public school education and made lifelong friends.

“Being an adult on campus is one of those Twilight Zone moments like, wait, how old am I?” Quintana said.

Like many RUHS graduates, Quintana attended El Camino Community College herself and transferred to University of California, Los Angeles, so she can offer insight into different college paths for students that will be leaving the RUHS Nest.

“Being on the other side of all this schooling is pretty cool. I can be that person that I needed when I was a student,” Quintana said. “I want to be Someone who students can relate to and someone who tries to understand you as a person. Someone who helps you feel seen and heard and can really help through the super stressful process of college admissions.”


Qiaochu Wang

With students questioning the future of the Chinese department at RUHS, Qiaochu Wang, has taken over and has big aspirations of improving and innovating the department for students who want to learn the language. Wang grew up in the northeastern part of Shenyang and, before coming to Redondo, ran the Santa Monica High School Chinese program. 

One of Wang’s hopes for the RUHS Chinese program is to institute a Redondo Union chapter of the National Chinese honors society for the students who have shown outstanding work in their respective Chinese classes, along with other various activities to help teach her students. 

“I hope to make a class trip to China in the future,” Wang said. “I want to invite US universities, with both US and Chinese campuses, and invite the programs to the school to give our students a presentation about college life and how to study abroad in China.”

Entering a new environment and being teacher can be challenging for some, but Wang really appreciate the kindness of everyone at RUHS.

“When I first came to Redondo, I felt very welcomed. Everybody would say ‘hi’ and smile. Everyone’s so supportive, no matter if it’s the custodian, admin or other teachers,” Wang said. “I think the culture of Redondo has been there for a long time and is ingrained in the environment. It creates a very healthy and positive working environment for teachers.”

Within this environment, Wang is dedicated to her student learning process. To optimize this, she plans her lessons at least a week ahead and gives each student personalized feedback on every assignment. She feels the best way to succeed is to stay on track with all of her work, so she can teach her students in a way that is best for them in the long run.

“I want my students to keep learning Chinese throughout high school and to want to continue after they graduate. I want to help cultivate lifelong learners,” Wang said. “I’m not just teaching my students Chinese,  I am teaching them to love learning the language.”


Samantha Marcon

After teaching history for the past two years, Samantha Marcon took on a new task as an AP psychology teacher at RUHS while continuing to teach world history. 

“I love learning how the brain works and how it affects our personality and our development,” Marcon said. “I majored in history, but I’ve always had a huge fascination with psychology, our brains and therapy, and I think they tie together pretty well.”

 After practicing both history and psychology in college and now as a teacher, Marcon notes the similarities between the two branches where her passion lies.

“It’s interesting to see how psychology affects history. In AP psych, we look at historical figures and analyze their behaviors. History is all about people and how their choices affect the world and other people. So psychology fits hand in hand with history, because both are all about people and their choices,” Marcon said.

While she may have taken up a new role this year as an AP psychology teacher, Marcon has kept with her her values of community and connectedness both inside and out of the classroom.

“My goals for this year are to be as supportive as I can be of my students,” Marcon said. “I just want kids to feel comfortable in my classroom and know this is a safe place for them to come, so I always have my door open at lunch if I can. I really want to build a community at RUHS, and I will all I can to help create that.”

After struggling with her own mental health issues in college during the pandemic, Marcon came to believe that the COVID-19 pandemic was detrimental to many students’ mental health. As a result, she now consistently puts in effort to look out for the social and emotional wellbeing of each of her students.

“If I struggled with mental health as a 21- or 22- year-old in college, I know that high schoolers struggle with it even more,” Marcon said. “So I always want to be a light in students’ lives and I make sure that whatever someone’s going through, they’re not going through it alone.”

To help students who are suffering mentally, Marcon structures her students’ workload and her personal availability around what she feels is most beneficial for them.

“It’s hard to balance school and mental health awareness because sometimes school can be negative for your mental health,” Marcon said. “So trying to find that balance is a new project of mine, where I’m not giving so much work that all my students are super anxious about it, but at the same time, keeping rigor in their academic lives.”

As a part of the mock trial club, speech and debate club and assistant coach for girl’s lacrosse, Marcon want to “be supportive of kids” and “just be there for them.” By emphasizing the needs of all her students, Marcon helps to strengthen RUHS’s community and advocate for its mental wellbeing. 

“If a student is going through something, all they have to do is talk to me about it,” Marcon said. “I’m always here. I also think that it’s good for kids to get involved with their school because I think that does lead to better mental health. I know what it’s like to be in a darker place, so I hope to lead students to a better place.”


Molly Lower

A plan to introduce new educational programs for students to RUHS is what Assistant Principal Molly Lower has in mind. Coming from her previous job as assistant principal at Bishop Alemany, Lower says she is “incredibly excited” to start promoting and enhancing student learning at RUHS. She plans, for example, to bring the AP Capstone program, a research course that targets building up problem-solving skills, to students. 

“I think it’s amazing how it teaches you how to research and express yourself, and how to consider multiple perspectives on the same issue. I’ve had students come back and say, ‘I’m so glad I took the class because now, I’m way ahead of my peers in some writing class in college,’” she said.

Lower’s aims aren’t just directed at enhancing the opportunities offered to students, but to also approach students and families facing difficulties in a more communicative manner.

“One of the things I oversee is attendance. Traditionally, the approach has been to punish people for not attending,” Lower said. “Instead, I want to look more closely at why a student might not be coming to school, and what is the reason behind that. Can we work with that to fix the issue?”

With all these goals in mind, Lower acknowledges the difficulties that come along with her responsibilities. However, with her previous experience, she feels achieving her ambitions is “doable.”

“The difficult part is probably the sheer volume of things,” Lower said. “I’m coming from a job where I had about three different positions in one, and I managed to get things done by the end of the day. I feel like the time management I developed at my previous position will work here.”

Most importantly though, Lower is “thrilled” to be part of the RUHS community. She looks forward to working with the “strong” and “collaborative” staff and connecting with students on campus during social times such as snack and lunch.

“It’s a 3,000-student campus, and it will take some time to get to know all the kids,” Lower said. “But my goal is to be out there, to be visible, and to be approachable; just to be involved in as many different things as possible and to let kids know that I’m there to support them in every way I can.”