Dr. Robert Romines, Moore Public Schools
2017 Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in Elementary/Secondary Administration
The winner of the Medal for Excellence in Elementary/Secondary Administration is Dr. Robert Romines, superintendent of Moore Public Schools. Romines began his career with the Moore district as a fifth-grade teacher in 1994 and served in many administrative roles before becoming superintendent in May 2013. He leads the third largest district in the state, serving 24,400 students at 35 school sites.
Romines has been praised for his compassionate leadership, community relationships and strong communications skills in helping lead the district through some of its most difficult challenges. Just one week after assuming the role of superintendent, a massive F5 tornado plowed through Moore, killing seven students, leveling two schools and damaging buildings throughout the district.
“His ability to shoulder the grief and devastation while leading thousands through a time of uncertainty and then accelerated growth and renewal was nothing short of miraculous,” said Moore Economic Development Director Deidre Ebrey.
Former colleague Ann Caine, who was Stillwater superintendent at the time, said she could only imagine the challenges Romines faced as he raced to school sites, met grieving families, and worked with media and staff. “He never complained about how tired he was or the difficulties he was facing,” Caine said. “His comments focused on what else he could be doing.”
In the face of other challenges – such as state cuts in education funding and increased emphasis on testing – Romines surveyed staff across the district about their concerns and took a proactive stance by creating a video, “Breaking the Silence.” Viewed by more than 200,000 on social media and other venues, the video shared the joys and frustrations of Moore teachers and became a tool for advocating for public education with legislators and other key stakeholders. As a result, state testing has been decreased and the teacher evaluation system has been revised. “It was amazing for me to see how much teachers appreciated how Robert went to bat for them,” Caine said.
Romines was also recognized for his outreach efforts, from videos and social media to student and community advisory committees, to communicate the good things happening in Moore Public Schools and to engage the community in its progress. “The positivity and overwhelming spirit of optimism is profound within Moore Schools, and I believe it has everything to do with Dr. Romines’ leadership,” Ebrey said.