Ask Dr. Tara Rolle, who’s in her first year as principal at St. Raymond School in Menlo Park, what she’s passionate about and “technology” heads the list, and more specifically Apple products, at least since the candy-colored iMacs debuted in 1999.
“They were so cute,” she recalls. “I had a pink one in college.” (Note to Mac followers, Apple called the color strawberry.)
Given her interest, it’s not surprising that among the first initiatives she’s undertaking is a major upgrade to the school’s technology program with the goal to complement the school’s academic program. Among other components, the initiative will include a science/technology/engineering/math lab and an after-school robotics program.
“We’ve used MacBooks in the past, but the use of iPads is a new piece for us,” she says. “The applications available to us are truly incredible.”
Taking the helm of St. Raymond is a homecoming of sorts for Tara. She grew up in Atherton, attending Laurel, Encinal, and Hillview schools before landing at St. Francis for high school. “I knew in high school that I wanted to go into education and, more specifically, administration,” she says. “My experience at St. Francis cultivated my interest in Catholic education.
“It’s wonderful to be home. So much hasn’t changed. Downtown Menlo looks smaller to me — it looked huge to me when I was kid. This area is a special place to grow up in!”
Blessed by the supportive St. Raymond community, Tara says she faces few challenges in the traditional sense. “The educational challenge is preparing kids for high school and cultivating in them a love of learning, not just producing results.” (Most St. Raymond grads attend competitive Catholic or private high schools in the area.)
St. Raymond School, located on Santa Cruz Ave., opened in 1954 and offers grades PreK through 8th, each in a single classroom.