New principal aims to enable goals of others

? Clint Corby to boost staff, students, parents.

Clint Corby, new HM/HS principal
Clint Corby, new HM/HS principal
Clint Corby says a singular goal has fueled his wide-ranging career in K-12 education the past 12 years.

?It didn?t matter whether the kid was 18 or 3, I enjoyed working with them and helping them get to where they want to go,? said the new principal at Hillsboro Mid?dle/High School.

Prior to accepting the invitation from USD 410, the St. John native was principal at Wineteer Elementary School in Derby.

Corby said he figured out where he wanted to go during his senior year of high school.

?I was working as an office aide, doing various tasks,? he said. ?I had the opportunity to interact with a lot of kids. I had coached basketball and baseball and things for the rec commission, and I enjoyed doing that.

?I thought that was a direction I wanted to pursue.?

Preparation

With a teaching career in his sights, Corby earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from Emporia State Univer?sity in 2003, then accepted a position as a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at Benton Elementary School in Wichita.

?I loved every second of it,? he said.

While there, his interest in making an impact broadened.

?I had the opportunity to take on various leadership roles while I was there,? he said. ?I was in charge of professional development, the bus routes and a number of things. That was a piece I enjoyed as well, so I thought why not give it a shot.?

He prepared for his shot at Baker University, where he earned a master?s degree in school leadership in 2009.

While working on the degree, he accepted an opening at Haviland as a K-12 principal starting in 2007.

?After two years they asked me if I would also be the superintendent,? he added with a smile.

In 2010, the neighboring school district of Mullin?ville asked Corbin to be their superintendent as the two districts pursued a friendly consolidation.

?It wasn?t something where there were hard feelings or anything,? Corby said. ?The kids had been going to school together already for a couple of years through an agreement. It was just a natural next progression of what needed to happen.?

Refocusing

But Corby said between serving as K-12 principal and merging two districts, he felt his professional focus of helping students reach their goals was wavering.

?I loved the community of Haviland,? he said. ?I just felt I was stretched so thin that I wasn?t doing everything I wanted to do as well as I wanted to do it.?

Corby ended up accepting the elementary principal position at Wineteer Elementary School in Derby in part because of the unique makeup of its student body.

?I wanted to work with military-connected kids, and that particular school was 50 percent active duty,? he said. ?There were a whole lot of kids who needed that extra support, who either had dads gone or moms gone.?

Corby said he could relate to their situation, if for different reasons.

?My parents divorced when I was young, so since I was 6 years old I didn?t have a dad around,? he said. ?Looking back, having that (support system) is so beneficial for kids.

?Those kids needed me every day, every single day,? he said. ?Sometimes it was only one of me and 430 of them that need a little help.?

Why Hillsboro?

Corby said he was attracted to the opening at Hillsboro because of the size of the town and the reputation the community and school has established around the state.

?I?m originally from a small community,? he said. ?It is important to both my wife and me that we?re in a community that values family, that values faith, that values education.

?Hillsboro is that. It has an excellent reputation across the state, regardless where you?re at.?

Corby said he is looking forward to working with middle and high school students.

?That?s a big transition time in their lives, and having someone there to help guide them is crucial,? Corby said. ?Obvi?ously, parents are No. 1, but any way we can help kids be college and career ready is what we want to do.?

USD 410 began merging the high school and middle school last year. Corby said he will facilitate the next stage, but only after he gathers feedback from teachers and staff.

?We?re a team, and when it comes to making those decision, that?s not up to me,? he said. ?I?ll help lead that, but it?s a group effort to make that happen.

?Regardless of their age, I want to help people do their best,? Corby said. ?Whether you?re a teacher or whether you?re a student, I have that same goal. Ultimately, how I go about making decisions is what is in the best interest of students?every time.?

Corby sees parents as another key constituency in the process.

?As a parent, you are your child?s advocate?that is your job,? he said. ?I like it when parents come talk to me, whether they feel it?s going well or if there?s an issue with something.

?By communicating, we can help make it better or keep doing what we?re doing,? he said. ?But we have to do it together.?

Corby feels his professional experience has prepared him to step into Hills?boro?s growing involvement in emerging curricula such as Pathways, STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and Project Lead the Way.

?Actually, the school where I was at, Wineteer Elementary, was the very first, and maybe only, elementary school in the nation that used Project Lead the Way,? he said. ?We originally received a grant from the Department of Defense that allowed us to purchase the VEX (robotics) kits and all those things.

?So I am familiar with it, but in terms of the ins and outs of what that means here, I?m in the process of learning that and will have the opportunity to learn more,? he said.

Family time

Corby and wife Heather have a son, Emerson, who soon will turn 4 years old. Heather formerly taught school but currently is at home with their son.

?I love spending time with them,? he said. ?My son is excited to be able to go to all the games. He loves watching sports and loves concerts and bands, so going to those events is right up his alley.?

?We?re real excited to be in Hillsboro and be part of the great traditions here.?