About Rocco


I grew up in a military family. During my high school year, I lived in Oceanside, CA, where I graduated from El Camino High School. I continued my education at UC Santa Cruz. One memorable experience was being selected and participating in the Year-Abroad program. After graduation, I served in the Peace Corps for two years in the Central African Republic: first as a bee-keeper and then for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. After my two-year stint with the Peace Corps, I worked with refugees in the horn of Africa for another 2 years.   

I needed to make some sense of what I had seen and learned in Africa and decided to study Agricultural Economics at Michigan State University where I earned a Master’s Degree. I decided to pivot and work in the tech industry for a number of years. Along the way, I earned a MBA from Santa Clara University and studied accounting. I’m a current California CPA.

Through both St.John’s Episcopal in Aptos and Peace United Church in Santa Cruz, I was introduced and became active in Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action (COPA).  I was very active in the COPA Education Strategy Committee and interested how our children were educated and given opportunities to thrive.

I started to regularly attend a brown-bag education series at Stanford University and when a job opportunity became available, I was excited to apply for the job and to begin work at a major research university. I’ve been able to use Improvement Science in my work that the Carnegie Institute for the Advancement of Teaching has been leading.

In recent years, I’ve been very active in the PTA and the Santa Cruz Education Foundation.

Most Recent Highlights:

  •      Led the SCEF effort on the $300,000 National Science Foundation Computer Science for ALL grant.
  •      In 2018, led a Technology and Computer Science Education fundraiser at Mission Hill Middle school to raise $44,000 to purchase 2 Chrome carts and fund integrated Computer Science Education in the 2018-19 academic year.
  •      Coordinated and provided leadership to apply and receive a grant from the National Center For Women in Technology for Mission Hill Middle School to offer a Girls in Technology an after-school program that was led by two undergraduate UC Santa Cruz Women Computer Science majors.