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Principally for principals

Fort Dodge native puts teaching experience into book

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Author Angela Kelly Robeck holds a copy of her new book “The Empowered Principal” that she wrote to help school leaders deal with their jobs. Kelly Robeck, a Fort Dodge native, will be signing copies Monday morning from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association, 921 Central Ave.

It can get a little lonely at the top.

Fort Dodge native Angela Kelly Robeck, of Santa Cruz, California, found that out when she accepted a leadership position in an elementary school in Mountain View.

“You have nobody to go to,” she said. “It was completely isolating.”

Kelly Robeck has turned her own experiences into a book called “The Empowered Principal.”

It’s geared toward helping those in leadership positions.

“It’s the story of my journey as a school leader,” she said. “How I navigated the job. It’s geared to aspiring or new school leaders and also things to consider before leaving a school leader position.”

Kelly Robeck grew up in Fort Dodge.

“I was born and raised here,” she said. “I was class of 1989.”

She earned her teaching degree and certificate at Iowa State University, then took a teaching job in a small community near Rochester, Minnesota.

She moved to California in 1995. She’s married to Mitchell Robeck and has a son, Alex Lyon at Chapman University in Orange, California. Lyon is studying screen writing.

“I was hired as a kindergarten teacher in Mountain View,” she said. “The home of Google.”

As a teacher, she had a support system. When she moved to a leadership position, that went away.

“Teaching is really hard, but you have a support system,” she said. “You have somebody to go to. Suddenly I had 550 kids, a staff of 50 and all the parents. People will even say you’ve gone to the dark side. As a teacher, you’re very beloved, in administration, you’re in another zone.”

She writes from her own experience.

“It’s about helping people navigate the actual aspects of the job,” she said. “It’s all about the relationship and moving fully forward.”

She encountered a new level of involvement when she moved into leadership.

“There was a big shift,” she said. “You started to see the politics behind it.”

She said a business approach helped her.

“We are in the business of people,” she said. “When a family walks in they’re our customers. We welcome them, support them, guide them.”

Kelly Robeck is also a certified couch for professional development in schools. She’s already planning her next book as well.

“I want to bring the same concepts to the group level,” she said. “My goal is to bring passion to education.”

She leaves those involved in leadership positions some further advice.

“Be open to learning,” she said. “But we’re not doing it ourselves.”

Copies of her book will be available Monday morning during a book signing at the Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association offices at 921 Central Ave.

The book signing is from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

“You can meet the author,” she said.

Hard copies will be available on Amazon in October. The electronic version will become available Tuesday.