Born just outside of Cleveland, Robyn Skodzinsky was raised in upstate and central New York. She moved to Ann Arbor in 1998 to serve as an AmeriCorps member for two years with SOS Community Services. While in AmeriCorps, she worked with homeless children and on a 24-hour crisis hotline. At that time, she also served as president of the Inter Co-operative Council at the University of Michigan.
After AmeriCorps, Skodzinsky attended Eastern Michigan University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in public administration and urban planning and a master’s of public administration, with a concentration in nonprofit management. While a student, she worked for six years at the Ginsberg Center of Community Service and Learning, and later as a graduate assistant at EMU.
After graduation, Skodzinsky worked for several years as a project manager and outreach coordinator for Clean Energy Coalition in Ann Arbor. She has many friends in the educational field, and thought that working in a school might be more rewarding. She’s in her fourth year as the office manager at King Elementary and loves it.
Principal Mary Cooper can’t praise her enough, calling her “kind, warm, funny, sensitive, confidential, and flexible.”
“Robyn was put on the face of this earth for this role of office professional,” says Cooper.
Why did you become an office professional? What makes you well-suited for the job? I am outgoing and a people-pleaser, so being an office professional is a natural fit. Also, I like to work equally with children and adults, so it’s great to have a role such as mine.
What do you love about the job and when do you love the job most? I love the students and the community they help create. At King, we have students from almost 30 countries. It’s exciting to be able to learn from each other about other parts of the world. No matter where a student is from, they are most often enthusiastic to learn and have a great sense of humor.
On the job, I really love being able to find creative solutions to immediate problems and taking care of students in the nurse’s office.
While I am not planning on changing my career, I do hope to continue with AAPS, albeit with more responsibilities.
What would surprise people about the work? How much goes on “behind the scenes” at a school. I don’t think people realize how many long-term goals there are—both academic and social—for students and staff. All of this is balanced with dozens of day-to-day tasks and the surprise situations.
What’s your favorite part of your workday? My favorite part of the day is when the opening bell rings and the students stream through the doors with smiles on their faces and are eager to learn!
What are your top 3 tips for a new office professional in AAPS?
- Leave your desk for at least 20 minutes a day.
- Have an extra change of clothes. Our job literally contains blood, sweat, and tears. And sick children…
- Greet each person with a smile. Happiness is contagious!
How fast does the workday pass? The work day flies by! I often think, “My stomach is grumbling, I should eat lunch” only to look at the clock and realize it’s almost 4:00! I wouldn’t trade this for anything else.
What are your favorite tips for keeping organized?
- Digitize! Digital paperwork is easier to organize and share.
- Find solutions that keep common areas clean. This can inspire colleagues to keep things clean, too.
- Schedule time each day to clear your desk. An iCal reminder halfway through the day and an hour before closing can do wonders for productivity.
Pets? Hobbies? Family? I’ve lived with my partner, Colin, for the last 14 years. We have two cats and raised my tween half-brother after my mom passed away. My brother is an adult now, so we’re young empty nesters. We love watching movies and visiting Ann Arbor’s amazing restaurants. I volunteer with the Hearing Loss Association of Ann Arbor and hope to make our area more accessible for those with disabilities.
_ Jo Mathis, AAPS District News Editor