John Rocha became Ozark Catholic Academy’s founding Head of School in August 2016.
Born in California and living briefly in Ohio and Georgia, John became a Texan as quickly as his dad’s military service would allow. John came to the Northwest Arkansas community from Houston which had been his home since 1978.
Most recently, John helped found Western Academy, an independent Catholic liberal arts school for boys. There he served as both Director of Development, raising millions of dollars, and as a member of the school’s Administrative Council, helping to manage the school’s daily operations. Prior to Western Academy, John was Academic Director for the Free Enterprise Institute where he developed and implemented educational programs for teacher professional development. In his later years at the Institute, he also served as its Director of Institutional Advancement.
In addition to his work in educational development and administration, John has acquired over twenty years experience in the classroom. He has taught lower and middle school history, literature, writing and religion at Western Academy, undergraduate literature at the University of St. Thomas, history and literature to middle and high school students at Children of the Holy House and senior English and advanced sophomore English at his alma mater, St. Thomas High School. Throughout his career he has been a dedicated student of the Catholic intellectual tradition and has sought to use his experience in the classroom to bring students into the wealth of this tradition.
While serving as a teacher, school founder and educational leader, John played a prominent role in the wider Catholic educational community in Houston. John served on the Diocesan Education Think Tank, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, the Marketing Committee and the Committee for Minority Recruitment at University of St. Thomas, and on the School Board for St. Theresa Catholic School.
John attended the University of Dallas where he received and B.A. in political philosophy. Shortly after beginning his teaching career and having his first child, John began graduate studies in Catholic liberal arts at the University of St. Thomas in Houston where he later earned his M.L.A. while he was serving as Development Director for the Center for the American Idea. Even while raising the money to keep an independent Catholic school in operation, he recently began doctoral studies in Humanities at Faulkner University.
While a student at the University of Dallas, John charmed his biology lab TA, who became his bride sometime thereafter. Donna was raised in Arkansas and a parishioner and student of Immaculate Conception, North Little Rock. After attending UD, she immediately began taking on the responsibilities of wife and mother, while attending the University of Texas School of Medicine in Houston. She has worked for over 16 years as a psychiatrist, most recently serving the Memorial Hermann network of hospitals throughout Houston.
John and Donna have been blessed with 10 children, 3 girls and 7 boys, ranging in age from 24 to 7. The oldest four children have attended various colleges; the oldest graduated from Notre Dame while others are currently studying at the University of Houston, School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Benedictine College. The six youngest are at home in Bentonville. In the 2020-21 school year, three of their children will be attending Ozark Catholic Academy.
John and Donna have enjoyed their three years here in Northwest Arkansas as they continue to share their faith with the vibrant Catholic community.