Mt. Vernon schools leader picked for state award

FORTVILLE — Mt. Vernon School Corp. Superintendent Shane Robbins has been named one of the best school leaders in the state.

The Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents recently announced Robbins has been named the 2017 superintendent of the year for the association’s fifth district, representing schools in Hancock, Boone, Hamilton, Hendricks, Johnson, Marion and Shelby counties.

Robbins was picked by other superintendents in the district who considered their area colleagues’ qualifications, accomplishments and leadership when choosing an honoree.

The superintendents association pointed to several initiatives launched under Robbins’ short tenure with the corporation.

Robins, who moved to Mt. Vernon from the Northwestern Consolidated School District of Shelby County in 2015, has been instrumental in helping the district reach many of its recent goals, said Mike McCarty, school board president.

He’s been at the helm for fewer than two school years and has helped the district put computers in the hands of all students, allowing them to participate in e-learning school days when school is closed because of inclement weather. Under Robbins’ leadership, the district fast-tracked plans to equip students with take-home laptops, reaching the technology goal a year ahead of schedule.

Also under his direction, the school district launched its first preschool this year. Called the Mini Marauder Preschool, the program enrolled about 85 3- and 4-year-olds for its first year.

Beyond meeting educational goals, Robbins was key to helping the district balance its general fund, which was about $4.2 million in debt in 2014, McCarty said.

The district plans to end the year with a $2.5 million balance in its general fund, so board members agreed to forgo collecting the final installment of money generated by a three-year tax hike , saving taxpayers about $1.1 million.

When he was hired, Robbins faced operational challenges, including the deficit, and has helped the district tackle those issues, McCarty said.

“He’s helped us enable our vision,” McCarty said. “It’s a great example of bringing the right person to the right position.”

Robbins has stayed humble about the award, saying the people he serves — students and staff — are who make him stand out as a leader. As superintendent, his job is to provide students and educators with the tools they need to be successful and push them outside of their comfort zone if needed, he wrote in an email to the Daily Reporter.

The award is a validation of the hard work achieved by the school corporation as a whole, he said.

“It recognizes not me the individual, rather me the superintendent of the Mt. Vernon Community School Corp., with greater emphasis being placed on the latter,” he said.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.