UF Superior Accomplishment Award, Div. III – Heather RobinsonMarch 11, 2022
Looking for someone to problem-solve the staffing challenges a school campus faces? Heather Robinson is your person. Add a pandemic, and a major construction project into the mix and Heather takes on the challenge with skill, compassion, and creativity and possesses an extraordinary capacity to make things work. And just when we thought we had seen more than enough, a flooded building added another layer of complexity to Heather’s work during the 2020-21 school year. Heather’s response? A committed, “can do” attitude that led to many late nights problem solving, drawing on strong relationships with faculty and staff colleagues to find the best possible solutions for all members of the P.K. Yonge community.
2020-21 presented incredible COVID-related challenges to educational institutions and P.K. Yonge was no exception. Last minute late night needs for substitutes due to illness, quarantine, or ADA accommodations were par for the course for Heather during 2020-21, as she faced an ever-declining number of available substitutes willing to be in classrooms. The instructional model during the early parts of the year included a revolving door for students to be on or off campus presenting ever-changing needs for direct supervision. In addition, classroom location changes resulting from shifts in the instructional model and a mid-year building transition for 6th-12th grade students added layers of complexity to the work of staffing classrooms, keeping track of where to send substitutes and helping them navigate the ever-changing maze of construction fencing across campus.
Heather’s success lies in her ability to predict, problem-solve, and prepare for the unexpected. Coupled with her capacity to face all of the challenges at once with commitment and good humor, she’s an extraordinary team player on whom all members of a school community can depend.
While perhaps the most visible fruits of Heather’s labor are in ensuring the supervision of classrooms, Heather’s “unseen” responsibilities did not take a break during the 2020-21 school year. She continued to maintain several databases including the FLDOE Staff Database, NEFEC/TRACK and P.K. Yonge’s Personnel and Leave Databases, managed the daily vehicle schedule for 7 school vehicles, managed staff and faculty parking, and served as back-up for the school cashier, all while standing in the midst of the staffing storm that the pandemic brought with it.
With Heather’s support and leadership, P.K. Yonge was able to provide uninterrupted, daily instruction for 1254 students throughout the entire 2020-2021 school year. Below are comparisons between 2018-19 (non-pandemic year) and 2020-21 (pandemic year):
Available subs in the sub pool: 59 (2018-19) v. 26 (2020-21)
Faculty quarantine days: 0 (2018-19) v. 420 (2020-21)
Days faculty were teaching remotely: 0 (2018-19) v. 67 (2020-21)
Heather goes above and beyond the scope of her responsibilities. She takes tremendous pride in making sure that students have teachers and she made sure that faculty members felt supported through perhaps some of the most challenging times P.K. Yonge has faced. Through this pandemic, Heather has been a local hero for teachers and students. She managed to find ways to resolve the never-ending, last-minute needs for substitutes without fail and with an upbeat attitude and a smile.
The P.K. Yonge community salutes Heather Robinson and celebrates her University of Florida Superior Accomplishment Award for Division III!
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