'A dream come true'
Robyn Leslie kept potential ideas she would use if she ever became principal written down in her journal as far back as four years ago.
On April 13, superintendent Dan Ray Gist II and the school board saw fit to remove the interim tag and make her Pilot Point Selz Middle School’s new principal.
“Mrs. Leslie has been with the district for four years and we wanted to give her the opportunity with an internship. We saw a lot of positive things come back after that three week period,” Gist said. “We always want to promote from within to show people that we’re dedicated to our employees and in this particular case we felt that she earned it.”
Leslie served as assistant principal at Pilot Point Intermediate School from 2013-2016 before coming on as assistant principal at the middle school in the fall of 2016.
When the board and former principal Zane Stapp parted ways, Leslie became the interim principal in mid March.
“Leslie and Stapp were the two finalist for the job last summer,” Gist said. “I feel like it’s her time and she’s doing a good job over there.”
Stability was another reason Gist considered Leslie a good fit for the campus.
“We didn’t want to hire someone from the outside that the students weren’t familiar with,” Gist said.
Gist said Leslie handled the transition well and he looks forward to bigger and better things next year.
“She’ll have more prep time and she’ll be able to run that campus the way she wants to,” Gist said.
Leslie said the support from teachers and staff has meant a lot to her.
“They made the announcement over the intercom and the teachers and students started cheering,” Leslie said. “That was a great moment that felt really good.”
During her tenure as principal, Leslie has spent time in the teachers’ classrooms going over proper teaching procedures and motivating the students.
The main thing Leslie is focused on is creating a positive culture for the school.
“Everyone is at their best when they’re in the right frame of mind,” Leslie said. “I want all students to be proud of the school they attend and I want all teachers to wake up every morning looking forward to coming to work.”
Leslie is an advocate for physical exercise, which is why one of the first events she’s put together is the PPMS Wellness Walk this Saturday at Massey Stadium.
“Wellness is important for the students, teachers and the overall community,” Leslie said. “If bodies are well, each part of our day will function that much better.”
Another school activity that promotes positivity is the Wednesday wagon.
“We go around on the classrooms on Wednesday and give the teachers some kind of treat,” Leslie said. “Whether it’s a bottle of water or soda or chips. The teachers enjoy that small token of appreciation. I also reach out to our teachers through the school newsletter to give them words of encouragement.”
Leslie believes that the biggest thing teachers’ want is support and that’s what she’s here to bring.
“I’ve talked to the staff about what their personal goals are because that’s very important to me,” Leslie said. “I want to help both our students and staff reach their dreams.”