Spotlight: 10 Questions for Dr. Robyn Killebrew (MS '17)March 6, 2018
Pass Christian High School Principal Dr. Robyn Killebrew (MS ‘17) turned her surprise Milken Award celebration into a schoolwide party, complete with Twister and colored lights: “Our students know I couldn’t do what I do without them, so it was exciting to be able to celebrate together.” She won Mississippi’s 2017-18 Award on January 19, 2018.
1. What went through your mind when you heard your name called at your surprise notification?
Dr. Robyn Killebrew: At first I was just really surprised that it wasn’t one of the amazing teachers I have the privilege of calling colleagues and friends. There are so many deserving educators at Pass High that I was having trouble realizing it was actually my name they had called out!
2. How did your students respond to your Milken Award? What impact has it had on them?
Robyn: I think they were just as excited as I was—and they all asked to borrow some money!
Seriously though, our students know I couldn’t do what I do without them, so it was exciting to be able to celebrate together. I think the experience of seeing their principal recognized really helped them understand that sometimes life hands you an unexpected bonus when you’re in the right place at the right time, doing what you’re supposed to be doing.
3. How did you end up in education?
Robyn: It’s in my genes. My grandmother taught elementary school for more than 30 years, and my mother, a phenomenal science teacher, is in her 43rd year and still going strong. I feel like I came by it honestly.
4. Who are your role models as an educator?
Robyn: I look to the examples set by my former teachers and coaches. They instilled in me a strong work ethic and the importance of being committed to excellence.
5. What memories stand out from your first year of teaching?
Robyn: The only real memories I have are of asking a lot of questions related to everything from curriculum to classroom management. I developed my teaching philosophy as I went through my first year. It was a lot like learning to fly a plane already in the air.
6. What are students most likely to remember about their time in your school?
Robyn: I hope they remember that we worked extremely hard, held each other accountable, and created a culture that both challenged and nurtured every student.
7. What’s your biggest challenge?
Robyn: As a high school principal, I see firsthand the struggles that teachers face every day in the classroom. I think that’s why I feel it’s my responsibility to really listen to them and provide support to help them help all their students reach their full potential.
8. How do you think you’ll use your $25,000 Award?
Robyn: I have no plans as of yet. I do love to travel, though, so I could definitely see a trip or two in my future.
9. What would you say to a student who expresses interest in a career in education?
Robyn: I believe education is the most rewarding of all careers, but it’s also very challenging. It really takes grit, determination, and hard work—along with a great deal of compassion and an understanding heart—to be successful in education.
10. What’s your definition of success?
Robyn: Never giving up until the work in front of you is complete.
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