HOOPESTON — Robert Richardson, the new Hoopeston Area School District superintendent, took the district helm on July 1. He previously served as superintendent and principal of Brimfield school district, 25 miles west of Peoria.
Originally from Hindsboro, Richardson said "he cut his teeth in the world of work as a farm hand." He spent more than a decade working on grain and soybean farms and working with livestock.
He earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture education, teaching in that area at the start of his career while continuing to pursue his career in the education field. Richardson also holds master's degrees in plant and soil science and education leadership and administration with an Ed. S in educational administration.
Three things brought Richardson to accept the challenge of Hoopeston's offer.
First, Hoopeston was a bigger school with 1,200 students enrolled, compared to 700 in Brimfield; second, Hoopeston has a well established staff with principals and bookkeepers; and third the salary of $120,000 agreed upon in the two-year contract.
Richardson believes discipline should be fair and consistent for all students, whether or not a student participates in sports, in other extracurricular activities or none at all. He wants to be involved in the community and believes students should also be involved in the community.
Involvement, he said, teaches kids "they're not the center of the universe." Adding, "They're a vital part, but not the center."
His hobbies include time with family and friends, especially with his granddaughter, campfires, cycling, church activities, shooting clays, sports, road-farming, tractors, garage-projects and consuming any kind of baked goods, "round" pies in particular.
Richardson and his wife, Jennifer, have three married daughters, Amber, 24, Amanda, 23, and Anna, 21, and one grandchild, Audrey, age 4. The family plans to move to the the district, renting a home while looking for one to purchase.
Richardson said he was honored to be a part of the Cornjerker family and looks forward to meeting the staff, students and community.