When Robyn Wiens was a junior at Ladue High School, she got a B on an AP American History test and lost her 4.0 GPA. She thought it was the end of the world.
“Everyone kept telling me it was ok, but at the time I didn’t see it that way,” Wiens said. Because of her academically focused background, Wiens knows what it feels like to have parents with high expectations about grades, getting into college, and worrying about scholarships, which makes her a strong fit for the academically focused Clayton.
The bubbly and positive Wiens is the new Assistant Superintendent of Student Services for the Clayton School District.
Wiens comes to Clayton after being the founding principal of a single-gender charter public school in the City of St. Louis: the Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls. According to Wiens, this was the biggest highlight of her professional career.
“[Opening Hawthorn] was a big undertaking,” Wiens said. “I knew it was going to be hard going into it, but I didn’t know what challenges to exactly expect … the project made me a stronger and more courageous educator.”
Serving as the principal at Hawthorn taught Wiens a lot about student and family relationships, and grounded her in the importance of empowering students.
“Students are capable of incredible and amazing things. You just have to give them the opportunity to really lean into that.”
Surprisingly, Wiens didn’t always know that she would want to be a school administrator. At first, she thought that she might want to pursue a career as a news anchor or reporter so she got an undergraduate degree in journalism at Drake University in Iowa. Later she realized that that was not for her.
“When I graduated from college if you would have told me, ‘Wiens you’re going to be a school principal, Wiens you’re going to open up a school and then you’re going to become Assistant Superintendent of Student Services,’ I would have probably looked at you like you were nuts. I wouldn’t have believed you,” Wiens said.
While that career may not have panned out, it still taught Wiens many important things that help her in her job today. It has helped her learn how to communicate information to make decisions. It has also helped her to do things like to ask good questions, write clearly, and craft important messages. One of the most important things it has taught Wiens is that you need to know who your audience is.
“What’s relevant to parents is both similar and different to what office staff needs to know,” Wiens said.
Wiens plans on being an advocate for all CHS students and helping them face different types of problems they encounter. She understands that high school students everywhere, Clayton students especially, put a lot of pressure on themselves.
Also, based on all of her experience she wants to implement rules that help students find success. On a larger scale, Wiens wants to make an impact with the idea of bettering Clayton’s educational equity.
“So much work has already been done in this school district in the area of equity and I would like to help bring that work to the next level,” she said.