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© 2022 Association of California School Administrators
Amy Robbins’ passion is serving students who may not fit in traditional education models.
Robbins serves students in nontraditional settings
August 8, 2022
ACSA Administrators of the Year graphic.
Name: Amy Robbins Award: Career Technical Administrator of the Year Title: Director of College and Career Readiness, Tri-Valley ROP ACSA highlights: Member since 2012; Region 6 rep., CTE Council.
In Amy Robbins’ role as director of College and Career Readiness for the Tri-Valley Regional Occupation Program, she served three districts — Dublin, Livermore Valley Joint and Pleasanton Unified School Districts.
Robbins helped to customize Career Technical Education programs and wrote grants to assist with new pathway development and facilitating contract work in order to assist students in reaching their career goals. Although she recently became executive director of Human Resources for Livermore Valley JUSD, her impact on Tri-Valley ROP lives on.
As an administrative council member of the Tri-Valley Educational Collaborative, Robbins helped secure more than $12 million in funding, providing the region with quarterly staff development focused on school culture and student success. She has obtained more than $1.1 million in grants to expand career units, college and career counseling, and work experience for the Tri-Valley’s five alternative education programs. Many of those dollars benefited youth who have left the traditional school setting and need support to graduate with the skills necessary for post-high school success.
Beyond applying for grants, Robbins also supports the Middle College program at Las Positas, designed for high school juniors and seniors seeking an alternative education path that will lead to them earning their high school diploma and up to 44 college credits at the same time.
“Supporting students (who) might not fit into a traditional school or instructional models is a passion of Amy’s,” said Bill Branca, assistant director of adult and career education at Dublin Unified School District. “Amy is always asking what is best for students.”
What’s your favorite book or quote on leadership? It is difficult to select one book or one quote, as I have many favorites. Here are two of my favorite leadership quotes that embody the most influential leaders with whom I have worked and set the standard for my leadership:
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams
“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” — Nelson Mandela
What are some life hacks that you would recommend for a new administrator? I recommend finding your network or circle of supporters and mentors. Having others to bounce ideas off and to share in your personal and professional growth is key. Also, take the time to get to know your employees and coworkers. This personal investment will produce high yields as trust, vision and compassion directly and indirectly benefit our youth.
What would people be surprised to learn about you? I don’t know that there is anything about my life that would be too surprising to others. I am a California transplant from Kentucky. My family (husband and two sons) and I like to travel, camp and spend time together. Our best adventures include nature and wildlife.
What made you want to become a school administrator? As a young child, I knew I wanted to become a teacher. This dream became a reality, and as I became more aware of the structures of education, I desired to have a broader impact. With the goal of broadening the narrow halls of K-12 education, I was determined to find ways to expand programs to engage all learners. I entered administration as a middle school site administrator who expanded STEM electives and later moved to the district level as a director. In my current director role, my passion remains shaping and expanding opportunities and programs for our youth, who are the future, and empowering others to maximize their sphere of influence.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome to get where you are? One of my biggest challenges has been finding the balance needed to be a successful working mother of two children. While I spend my days (and evenings and even weekends) working to support all children/youth, I have to manage my personal life to ensure that my own children get the best from me. This remains a challenge. However, I am grateful that my own children see my passion for leading and shaping our future generation (which includes them).
How has ACSA supported you in your career/current position? ACSA is a dynamic organization which has helped to shape me on my administrative journey. From the local chapter to the region to the state level, being surrounded by experts with common interests and a wide range of expertise has shaped me into the administrator I am today. The professional development offerings, the EdCal editions and the recent Legislative Lunch Break provide relevant information and share best practices, all of which I find extremely valuable. I also enjoy serving as the CTE representative for Region 6 and am humble that ACSA honors me for my service.
What new strategies are you using in the post-“return to school” period? While these strategies are not new, having grace, being flexible, thinking outside of the box and going slow to go fast are all strategies that the post-“return to school” period have brought to the forefront of my work. Now more than ever, our students need us to dig deep and to give them our very best.
Award: Career Technical Administrator of the Year
2022 Career Technical Administrator of the Year Amy Robbins.