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The Journal Gazette

  • FWCS Superintendent Wendy Robinson talks Tuesday at the Grile Administrative Center about her honor as Indiana Superintendent of the Year. (Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 1:00 am

Robinson top state schools chief

Praised as 'passionate advocate' at FWCS

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne Community Schools had reason to cheer Tuesday with the announcement its leader was named the Indiana Superintendent of the Year.

But Wendy Robinson, who paused her administrative duties to speak with reporters mid-afternoon, accepted the news with humility.

“It is humbling to have your peers think you're worthy,” she said in the Grile Administrative Center lobby.

The Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents announced the honor two weeks after naming Robinson as the 2018 District II Superintendent of the Year, an honor she also received in 2008. Seven others were in the running for the state title.

The IAPSS executive director said Indiana couldn't have a finer candidate to represent the state in the American Association of School Administrators National Superintendent of the Year program.

“Dr. Wendy Robinson has not only been a steady force guiding one of Indiana's largest school districts, she is a passionate advocate for children and public schools and a national leader for her expertise in improving urban education,” J.T. Coopman said in a statement.

“When she speaks in front of a professional conference or testifies before a legislative committee, she is universally respected for her achievements and her experience.”

School board President Julie Hollingsworth said she is happy for Robinson, who has weathered criticism and led FWCS through a tumultuous time in public education. The district has emerged financially and academically sound, she said, and Robinson always seeks improvement.

“I think that's the mark of a good leader,” Hollingsworth said.

FWCS superintendent since 2003, Robinson also has held such roles as classroom teacher and principal, and she has received numerous honors, including the National Alliance of Black School Educators' 2009 Joseph E. Hill Superintendent of the Year Award.

Her three-year contract, which the school board approved last year, expires in 2019.

Robinson considers FWCS the best and said the Superintendent of the Year award reflects the collective efforts of the faculty and staff.

“I just represent those people,” she said.

Robinson said the work never ends. Along with regular administrative tasks, which include training, she also gets to the schools; Monday she visited Washington and St. Joseph Central elementary schools.

“Every day's different,” she said, “but every day is an opportunity to see how we can make students and adults shine.”

She's been encouraged to use her Indiana Superintendent of the Year honor as an opportunity to promote FWCS.

“I'm just proud of the district,” she said.

asloboda@jg.net