Gina Robinson will be leading the school when current Cedar Lane Principal Melisa Stilwell leaves to become the founding principal of Lorewood Grove Elementary which is under construction.

The Appoquinimink Board of Education has selected Gina Robinson as the new principal at Cedar Lane Elementary in Middletown. The board approved the administration’s recommendation at the Feb. 12 board meeting.

Robinson now serves as the principal of the Cedar Lane Early Childhood Center – a kindergarten program on the same campus as Cedar Lane Elementary.

She’s already begun to hold transition meetings with current Principal Melisa Stilwell who will leave shortly to become the founding principal of Lorewood Grove Elementary which is under construction.

After the board selects a new principal for the Early Childhood Center, Robinson will become the principal of Cedar Lane Elementary School, and Stilwell will work at the district office until construction at Lorewood Grove Elementary School is completed. That new school is scheduled to open to students in the fall at 820 Mapleton Ave., in the community of Whitehall, just north of Middletown.

Robinson discussed her new position and her career in education.

What drew you to Cedar Lane Elementary? Why did you want this position?

The first part of my career was spent teaching middle school. As my skills and interests grew, I began taking on leadership roles outside the classroom. Those experiences helped me realize that as an administrator, I could have an impact on not just one classroom, but an entire school.

With encouragement from my principal and co-workers, I left the Appoquinimink School District to become the assistant principal at Brandywine Springs, a K-8 school in the Red Clay Consolidated School District. While I was there, two important things happened: we expanded our family and I fell in love with elementary education.

Thanks to the explosive growth in Appoquinimink, I soon had an opportunity to return as the principal of the Cedar Lane Early Childhood Center. The last five years have truly been wonderful, but I found myself wishing that we had more time together. As an educator, I am looking forward to the opportunity to develop a multi-year relationship with our students and staff.

Cedar Lane Elementary is a National Blue Ribbon School. How will you continue the legacy?

My goal for CLE is that we create an excitement about learning that’s second to none. We’ll do that by building on an already-strong foundation of parent involvement, hands-on curriculum, classroom explorations that link learning to life, and support for teachers’ to continue the dynamic professional development opportunities that are a hallmark of the school culture.

How will you foster effective relationships?

I’m a collaborative leader who will be inheriting a talented group of students, staff and parents. As a newcomer, I’m going to be focused on listening, observing and building trust during my first few months on the job. Over time, I’ll begin suggesting some ideas of my own, and we’ll share and learn from one another.

Since I prefer face-to-face conversations to email, I’ve already urged the teachers at CLE not to be surprised if I show up in their room to chat. Similarly, I want parents to know that my door is always open. Once I'm installed full-time at the Elementary School, I hope you’ll make time to stop by, say hello and tell me what’s on your mind.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in Delaware. My husband Tyler and I live in Middletown. Together, we have four fantastic children. The oldest, Brianna, is a teacher at Baltz Elementary in the Red Clay Consolidated School District. Next is Blake, a senior at Middletown High who also hopes to make education his career. Then comes Bobby, a freshman at First State Military Academy. Rounding out the crew is Kaiden, our youngest. He’s a first grader at Cedar Lane Elementary. Two of our children came to us six years ago from foster care. We feel beyond blessed to have them and grateful that their arrival prompted my decision to return to the Appoquinimink School District.