In talking to peers while pursuing his second master’s degree in the education field, Adam Robinson realized he could have a broader outreach as an administrator.
When he learned David Schill was retiring as principal at Crothersville Junior-Senior High School after the 2016-17 school year, Robinson knew he should go for it.
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“It was kind of the dream,” said Robinson, who had been an art teacher at Crothersville since 2005. “I didn’t know if it would happen or not, but I knew I was at least going to try to put in for it and cross my fingers and hope.”
One day in late June, he had an interview with Superintendent Terry Goodin and the school board. The next day, he was offered the job.
“It was surreal just because you want something so bad for so long, and then when you get it, it wasn’t what I expected,” the 35-year-old said. “My stomach literally sank, and I was like, ‘Oh, now I’ve got it. Now is the hard part. I’ve got to do something with it.’”
Goodin said he and the board decided to have Robinson serve as interim principal for a year as the corporation continues to transition into more early college and vocational curriculum. He will be on an extended teacher’s contract.
“We’re trying to figure out the right fit, and Adam seemed to be the right fit right now, there’s no doubt about it,” Goodin said. “He brings a strong personality to the position, a friendly demeanor. He’s going to be a welcoming face just like David was. When you come in the door, you’re going to see a smile.”
Goodin said Robinson also is an extremely hard worker.
“I’ve been impressed with what he has done in his classroom,” Goodin said. “He has really elevated students’ opportunities there in that classroom, and he’s always looking to make things better, which is very important. He doesn’t get set in his ways. He always knows that education is a continually changing animal.”
Robinson graduated from Brown County High School in 2000 and then obtained a Bachelor of Science in education from Indiana University in 2004.
He said his parents were influential in him getting a higher education, and his high school art teacher helping him in a variety of ways inspired him to go into education.
“I wanted to do the same, so I told him, I said, ‘Listen, I want to be an art teacher, as well. What are the steps?’ and he literally sat me down and helped me fill out my application to IU,” Robinson said. “He still is a resource I use when I have questions.”
Robinson said he was drawn to art because of the creative outlet.
“Also, you get to, I think, know your students more because it is such a creative outlet to where you can kind of tell how they are doing by what they are drawing,” he said.
When he was searching for a teaching job in 2005, Robinson found out about an opening at Crothersville.
After a 2½-hour interview with then-Principal Tom Judd, Robinson was offered the job.
“He walked me down and I got to see the art room, and my mind set afire about all of the things I wanted to do with it,” Robinson said.
Early on, he taught four art classes. Once he obtained a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Indianapolis in 2012, he was qualified to teach a dual credit visual communications class. Students in the Austin Crothersville Early College Initiative could take it to earn credits toward obtaining an associate degree from Ivy Tech Community College.
In the classroom, Robinson said he was able to build a really good rapport with his students.
“I feel like they get to the point where they know they can trust me, they know I’m looking out for them, whether it’s art or their personal life … just a resource they can always come to to know that this person is going to be looking at my interests,” he said.
Even though he is transitioning to the principal role, Robinson said he will still be teaching the visual communications class. Beginning and intermediate art will be available to high school students through the partnership with Austin, but the schedule for middle-schoolers is still to be determined.
Robinson will go from teaching 70 to 100 students in grades 7 through 12 to overseeing nearly 220 students in grades 6 through 12.
He said he doesn’t expect that to be too much of an adjustment. Since receiving his master’s degrees in curriculum and instruction and administration, he spent some time in the office handling discipline, talking to parents and helping with day-to-day operations.
He also received RISE certification to evaluate teachers, was a school safety specialist, served on the school improvement team and student assistance team and advised the Art Club and National Honor Society.
“Mr. Schill had done such an amazing job for so long, everyone in the community knew him. They would walk up to him at a ballgame or something,” Robinson said. “My students all know me, and a lot of parents know me, but besides that, I need to get as many people in the community as I can to know who I am so it just makes it easier for them.”
He said he plans to promote the school’s offerings and successes via word of mouth, the media and social media in hopes of boosting enrollment.
“I’m incredibly excited about getting what we do here at Crothersville out to as many people as we can,” Robinson said. “It would be my dream and hope that people get tired of hearing about how great the school is. There are so many great things about coming to Crothersville that I just don’t know if enough people know about it or appreciate it enough.”
While he admitted to being a little nervous about the first day of school Aug. 2, Robinson said he is excited about the opportunity to be the school’s leader.
“The most advice I’ve been given is do not try to reinvent the wheel, do not change everything coming in,” he said. “I’m going to try to make it as routine as possible so they come in, they are comfortable and they are ready to just go on.”
He recently received a lot of positive feedback after posting a letter he wrote to the community on the school’s Facebook page. It received more than 20,000 views.
“I had no idea how far of a reach that would get or how many people would see it,” he said. “The amount of support I’ve received already has been inspiring, to say the least.”
Name: Adam Robinson
Education: Brown County High School (2000); Indiana University (Bachelor of Science in education, 2004); University of Indianapolis (master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, 2012; master’s degree in administration, 2015)
Occupation: New principal at Crothersville Junior-Senior High School
Family: Wife, Kelli; children, Landon and Dillon