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Language Leadership Award Presented to MHS Teacher

“When it comes to exceptional leaders, no clearer choice exists. Whether working in her classroom, school, community or State, Robin stands out as a role model and leader to us all.”

These are the first two lines of a letter written by the MHS Modern and Classical Languages Department nominating their colleague for the Richard Williamson Award for Leadership. The award recognizes teachers who have successfully promoted the study of modern or classical languages, particularly with students who would not generally pursue second language learning. Friday, March 9th at the Foreign Language Association of Maine’s annual conference, the award was presented to Messalonskee Greek and Latin teacher, Robin Colby.

“I cannot think of a more deserving faculty member to receive this recognition,” said MHS Principal Paula Callan. Callan went on to praise Robin’s ability to keep students engaged, as well as her dedication to her students, peers, and educational community.

As the only Latin and Greek teacher in the district, Robin had to create learning standards from scratch during the district’s shift to proficiency-based learning, since none existed for her content area. She also manages multiple preps each semester as she covers all levels, from beginning to AP.  This doesn’t deter her from offering independent studies to interested students who cannot fit the regular courses into their schedule. Robin has also reached students who might not normally have an interest in classical language education through two seminars she designed herself, Medical Terminology 1 and Medical Terminology 2. With all of her classes, she finds ways to make the material relatable and meaningful through field trips, and she regularly organizes trips abroad for interested students.

Robin is a pillar of the school community for both students and teachers.  She has served as class advisor in the past and currently serves as the Student Council advisor. In this capacity, she organizes many of the major school-wide events including the annual food drive, the blood drive, and the annual Day of Caring which encourages students to volunteer throughout the community.  She has also frequently served as a mentor to new teachers, whether formally or informally.

“Since joining the Messalonskee staff, I have been fortunate to work with many mentors, and Robin has been one of the most influential,” said MHS Spanish teacher Karalynn Gibson. “Even when I was young in my profession, Robin believed in, supported and nurtured my leadership skills. Robin’s guidance inspired me to become active in my profession beyond my classroom. I would not be the educator I am today without her support.”

In addition to her work within the school, Robin has served the RSU 18 Education Association as president, co-president, and chief contract negotiator. Teachers and administrators alike credit her hard work, dedication, persistence and positive attitude for the strength of the Association and the positive and professional relationship it maintains with the administration.

Perhaps above all else, what makes Robin such a strong leader is her kind and candid nature. Students, teachers, and administrators frequently turn to her if they need information, feedback, or advice.

Congratulations, Robin, on your well-deserved award.

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