The Potterville school board was hard at work for several months trying to find a suitable person to fill the role of superintendent. Timothy Pillar was brought on as the interim superintendent, but in March the school board had selected a list of candidates and prepared for open interviews. By April, the board had narrowed down the list to two candidates, one of whom was Kevin Robydek, who started in his role as superintendent July 1.

Robydek came to Potterville from Portland Public Schools where he served the last five years as principal of Portland Middle School. For the last 10 years Robydek worked in education, not only as principal, but also as a special education teacher, a coach, and briefly as an assistant principal. Prior to his experience in education, Robydek was a social worker in detention centers and residential treatment programs. Although he originally sought to be a social worker because of his own background in the foster care system, he always hoped and planned to become a teacher.

“I always had a dream of being a teacher,” said Robydek. “I wanted to get into a school setting and connect with kids at a different level.”

Robydek finally decided to make his move and worked on his teaching degree, earning his masters from Aquinas College. Beyond simply teaching, however, Robydek thought he’d eventually go into administrative work. His opportunity to move into administrative roles arrived faster than he anticipated. Portland offered him the opportunity to be interim assistant principal for a few weeks. After those few weeks were up he found himself as the principal of Portland Middle School.

“I was thinking 10 to 15 years down the road,” said Robydek. “In life, sometimes the ball bounces a different way, and you take things and you go with it.”

From his experience in Portland, Robydek learned the value of collaboration with his fellow staff, as well as the benefits of positive reinforcement with students.

“The biggest thing is pushing ego aside and not letting that get in the way. If you work together as a team you can accomplish anything,” said Robydek.

It was that collaborative mindset that he identifies as the main reason in school detentions and out of school suspensions went down during his years in Portland. His staff came together to implement PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Supports), an effort that is also being taken on by Potterville Public Schools.

“I want to get as many answers as we can to come up with the best solutions… it has to be the best thing for the kids,” said Robydek.

While he prepares to collaborate with staff and provide positive supports for students, Robydek also plans to push Potterville Viking pride.

“We want to make sure students understand what that pride means- how carry ourselves as teachers and administrators, how does community perceive us…,” said Robydek. “We’ll work really hard to make sure the culture is inclusive and welcoming to everybody.”

School starts for Potterville students and staff Monday, August 20.