June 15, 2013 in Washington Voices

Learning year for new principal at U-Hi

By The Spokesman-Review
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Alan Robbins is the principal at University High School in Spokane Valley. This school year has been one of getting to know the students, staff and district initiatives.
(Full-size photo)

Alan Robbins, 48, is finishing his first year as principal at University High School in the Central Valley School District.

This year has been an impressive one for the school. Among the many accomplishments, the school received the 2012 Washington Achievement Award, won the AAA state wrestling championship, went to state for nine sports (boys football, girls softball, boys and girls basketball, boys wrestling, boys and girls track and boys and girls golf), earned the top test scores in the state for math and science, received 14 nominations for the 5th Avenue Theatre Awards for its production of “Urinetown,” and student Joseph Hall took second place in the State Solo and Ensemble Championship for baritone vocal.

“None of the things that happened was because I was here,” Robbins said.

Instead, he credits the staff and students for the school’s many accolades, and he is glad there is an opportunity for everyone to succeed.

This school year has been one of getting to know the students, staff and district initiatives for Robbins. He said it’s been a learning curve that will continue every year.

“I don’t think you ever get there,” he said. “It’s all about improving.”

University is Robbins’ third principal’s job. He most recently worked as a principal in Columbia Falls, Mont. He got into education after working as an electrical engineer, a job he had dreamed about getting ever since he was in junior high.

When a project fell through at his company, he received an opportunity to work with students. The experience was so wonderful he decided to get his teaching certificate in math and physics from Montana State University in Bozeman. He later earned a master’s in leadership from the school, the degree that allows him to be a school principal.

Now that school is over for the year, Robbins is looking forward to finding great fishing spots and spending time outdoors this summer.

“I spent last summer in an office,” he said. He’ll be in that office this year until the end of June.

Robbins has been married to his wife, Jackie, for 27 years. They have three sons. Bryant, the oldest, works for the Army Corps of Engineers. His middle son teaches math and science at Glacier High School in Montana, and his youngest, Joshua, is a senior at Montana State studying civil engineering.

Along with getting to know the students and staff, Robbins has been working to get to know the parents as well. The school has held parent meetings to open up the lines of communication between the parents and staff.

Robbins said University has a long tradition of succeeding in both sports and academics. He enjoyed the Greasy Pig and the Battle of the Bone.

“I think it’s been a very enjoyable year for me,” he said.

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