Gunnison High School (GHS) is getting a new right hand leader, as former GHS social studies instructor Robin Wilkinson has been hired as vice principal. Wilkinson replaces Dave Uhrig, who stepped down from the post near the end of last school year.
While standing in front of the classroom and leading her students has long been Wilkinson’s comfort zone, the position piqued her interest as another opportunity to lead the GHS community.
“Leadership, in my mind, is 100 percent about serving others and raising up leaders,” Wilkinson told the Times in an email. “Public education is a beautiful place to practice that, so when the … position opened at the school I had served in some capacity for the past 11 years, I knew I had to try.”
Wilkinson began her “twisty” education journey after high school. She stepped away after one semester of college after having her first daughter.
Being the first person in her family to go to college, Wilkinson always knew she’d return. And at 29 years old and two more kids later, she did just that.
One year away from graduating with a degree in film from Western Colorado University, a friend and mentor of Wilkinson’s encouraged her to apply to be a special education assistant at the then-Gunnison Valley School. Even though the position would put off her college graduation a year, Wilkinson felt drawn to the job.
“I was offered the position, and after the first week working with high school students I knew I was where I was supposed to be — standing next to young adults, encouraging them and reminding them that who they were was enough,” she recalled.
Wilkinson has been teaching social studies for the last seven years and was the advisor for the Student Leadership Council. Working with and getting to know the students, she said, is by far the “best part of being an educator.”
“Robin has an incredible relationship with the staff and students here,” GHS Principal Jim Woytek said. “Her passion and excitement she has for education is inspiring. I’m thrilled I get to work with someone of her caliber.”
Though she won’t be in the classroom, Wilkinson is approaching the year with the same disposition as she did as a teacher: That as long as you impact one person’s life during the school year, then the difficult challenges are worth it.
“As long as I can answer yes, then I believe I am fighting the good fight,” Wilkinson said. “I am looking forward to working with the amazing staff at GHS, continuing to problem solve with the district's leadership team, and walking alongside young people. This is truly the dream job, and the best part is I never have to work a day in my life!”
(Roberta Marquette can be contacted at 970.641.1414 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.)