HANFORD — While Dr. Victor Rosa is new to Hanford Joint Union High School District, for him, it’s like coming home.
In May, Rosa was hired as the district’s new superintendent following the retirement of previous superintendent William Fishbough.
The excitement was noticeable on Rosa’s face and in his words when the Sentinel sat down with him before the district’s new school year started on Aug. 15.
He officially started in the position on July 1, but spent a couple months prior to that transitioning into his new role.
While there was some nervousness before school began, Rosa was confident in the district’s and staff’s direction of enhancing its culture of caring and supporting students.
In fact, supporting students is Rosa’s passion. Growing up an English learner, he didn’t have the easiest time in school.
That begs the question of how Rosa ended up with a career in education.
The answer is simple: he had great teachers growing up right here in Hanford.
Rosa lived in Hanford nearly all of his life and attended Lakeside Elementary School before graduating from Hanford High School in 1992. The son of Portuguese immigrants, he grew up on a small farm where he gained an appreciation for agriculture and career technical education.
While he was not strong in English, Rosa said he never felt any different in school because he received a lot of support and help. By the time he got to high school, he said it wasn’t even an issue anymore.
Rosa said he had some tough teachers in high school, but they pushed him to do better instead of focusing on his limitations. Art and English were two subjects where the teachers really made an impact on him.
“Whether it was art or whether it was English, I knew that my plan was to be a teacher and be in education one way or another,” he said.
Art was the subject Rosa initially pursued, but he made the switch to English when he realized it would better suit his teaching style.
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Rosa attended College of the Sequoias and spent some time at California State University, Fresno, but completed the bulk of his higher education at Chapman University, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as his teaching and administration credentials.
He felt like he could do more, so he also earned his doctorate in Organizational Leadership at the University of LaVerne.
While he spent more time in college than he thought he would, Rosa said he continues to use the training and leadership skills he learned on a daily basis.
Throughout his career, Rosa has focused on connecting with students and making sure they all had some sort of hook or something they liked that kept them interested in the classroom.
He admits that there are bad and frustrating days, but sometimes educators don’t realize the impact they have on a student.
Rosa has spent most of his career — 17 years to be exact — in Lemoore. There, he worked as an English teacher, a principal, and most recently as an assistant superintendent.
Hanford, however, was always the place he envisioned himself working. Now he’s accomplished just that.
“I was really proud of the work that I did [in Lemoore] and I’m happy to do the second half of my career here in Hanford,” Rosa said. “It’s kind of my dream job.”
Rosa’s even had the opportunity to work with teachers that were once his teachers.
“That’s really a neat perspective,” he said. “There’s not many left, but the ones that are here have just been super supportive.”
Other perks of living back home for the family-oriented Rosa is having his family close by and seeing people he grew up with.
“It’s awesome,” Rosa said. “I really love this place.”