Meet the new faces of the English Department

Liana Pickrell, Author

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Robert Rojas (left) is new to Paly this year and teaches 10th grade English and Sports Lit. Rojas, a Santa Clara native, said he is happy to be teaching in the Bay Area after spending the last 17 years in Los Angeles. Marc Tolentino (right) is one of two new English teachers at Paly this year. You can find him teaching both lanes of sophomore English, American Literature and second semester Humanities.

Robert Rojas (left) is new to Paly this year and teaches 10th grade English and Sports Lit. Rojas, a Santa Clara native, said he is happy to be teaching in the Bay Area after spending the last 17 years in Los Angeles. Marc Tolentino (right) is one of two new English teachers at Paly this year. You can find him teaching both lanes of sophomore English, American Literature and second semester Humanities. Photo by Lizzie Chun.

After two departing teachers left holes in the English Department over the summer, Palo Alto High School welcomed two new English teachers to its staff at the start of this school year.

Robert Rojas and Marc Tolentino, both California natives, have joined the department to replace former Paly teachers Denise Shaw and Ellen Austin.

Both Rojas and Tolentino are teaching the two lanes of sophomore English. In addition, Rojas teaches the Literature of Sport class and Tolentino is teaching American Literature as well as second semester Humanities.

Rojas, originally from Santa Clara, returned to the Bay Area after living for about 17 years in Los Angeles, where he attended Loyola Marymount University and started his teaching career. He most recently worked at Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnets High School in Los Angeles.

Tolentino, born and raised in Los Angeles, moved back to California from Hawaii earlier this year to teach at Paly and be closer to his family. After moving to Hawaii for graduate school, he stayed and became a teacher. Tolentino previously taught at Mililani High School in Oahu.

Rojas said he is excited to meet new students and is glad to be back in the Bay Area.

“I spent the last 10 years in LAUSD [Los Angeles Unified School District], and it was kind of time for a change,” Rojas said. “I thought it was time to come back.”

Beginning his eighth year of teaching, Tolentino is looking forward to working with Paly students.

“I’m really excited to meet the students and get to know them,” Tolentino said. “I’ve heard great things about the students.”

Outside of school, Rojas and Tolentino participate in a variety of activities. Rojas’s interests include photography and comics, and Tolentino enjoys hiking, snowboarding and traveling.