“Our goal is to continuously work to be better versions of ourselves:” Former principal Brian Robinson announced as next superintendent


Courtesy of Brian Robinson

Former Highlands High School principal, Brian Robinson, was announced as the next FTIS superintendent.

Every Monday morning, a friendly, familiar voice would greet the students of Highlands High School (HHS) with a simple phrase: “Good morning, Highlands. These are your morning announcements.” After pursuing other careers, that voice will return to the Fort Thomas Independent School District (FTIS).

On March 30, FTIS announced that former Highlands faculty member Brian Robinson will be the new superintendent after Dr. Karen Cheser’s retirement. 

It wasn’t a difficult decision to leave the Forest Hills School District, where he currently works. His life has always been deeply rooted in Fort Thomas, by his past work experience, children, and social life. 

Robinson started out his HHS faculty career as a government teacher, but he soon moved up in ranks. He served as assistant principal and administrator, and later as principal for a nine-year term. He left the HHS nest to pursue an executive position in advanced placement for the College Board. 

“I was responsible for managing a diverse team from around the country to ensure we maintained rigor while expanding equity and access to historically under-represented students,” Robinson explained in regards to his past job. “In a sense, I was principal for a national program.”

Although the jump from being principal of a high school to  “principal” for a national program was a bit shocking at first, it exposed him to different leadership tactics to improve collaboration. Not only did he get to improve his on-hand leadership capabilities, he was able to mature in his ability to lead from a grand distance, seen in how he led the whole United States.

By leaving HHS and FTIS in general, Robinson left behind a lot of traditions that he knew he would truly miss. The bond he had with students and his fellow faculty members made the decision to leave HHS extremely difficult. Even the lack of the simple phrase, “It’s a great day to be a Bluebird,” made the transition a bit more melancholy and solemn than he initially expected. Despite that, he knew that that was an opportunity that he could not pass up, and he knew there was no way that he could regret that. 

His journey outside of Highlands didn’t stop at the College Board, though. After resigning from his executive position, Robinson became the High School Associate Director for Teaching and Learning at the Forest Hills School District where he led curriculum initiatives. As he settled back into a school district environment, he realized one thing was missing: the Bluebird nest. 

Ultimately, Robinson felt the need to come back to his roots in Fort Thomas. 

“I was inspired to come home,” Robinson explained. “ In some ways, I never really left.  I bleed blue and can think of nowhere else I would rather be.”

The decision to come home to FTIS was welcomed with open arms as the members of the FTIS Board of Education voted unanimously for Robinson. Robinson has big plans to keep the integrity of tradition within FTIS while also keeping up with much needed updates. At the start of the next school year, Robinson plans on focusing on individual student growth with individualized success programs and opportunities. A key factor to individual growth, according to Robinson, is engaging experience in topics that students enjoy. 

With the collection of experiences that FTIS faculty has, the transition back to FTIS appears to be smooth sailing for Robinson. 

However, Robinson is well aware that he will be taking the superintendent position in the midst of a pandemic that has taken its toll on school districts across the nation.

“COVID[-19] has had an impact on everyone.” Robinson acknowledged.  “We need to find opportunities to find some joy, rest, and take care of each other.”

With that said, the idea of finding such opportunities will not be a challenge for FTIS, according to Robinson. While he was out of the district, FTIS has grown leaps and bounds in terms of community and success, which is something Robinson wants everyone to reflect on over the spring and summer. 

“I am excited that we will begin this summer with the spirit of Fort Thomas strong and ready to continue our motto of being Rich in Tradition, and Focused on the Future,” Robinson concluded.

Even though Robinson will not speak over the intercom of HHS, his words will ring through our halls saying “It’s a great day to be a bluebird,” once again upon his return.