Dr. Shakeica Robinson Named New RPBHS Principal

Dr. Shakeica Robinson

It was a full-circle moment when Dr. Shakeica Robinson was named the new principal at Royal Palm Beach High School earlier this month. Robinson first arrived at RPBHS in 2004 as a math teacher, her first position as an educator.

Most recently principal at Tradewinds Middle School in Greenacres, Robinson takes over for Michelle Fleming, who has been transferred to the top job at Palm Beach Gardens High School.

A Palm Beach County native, Robinson grew up in West Palm Beach and graduated from Suncoast High School in 1999. She majored in psychology at the University of Central Florida and was planning a psychology career before a short segway into teaching became a permanent fixture in her life.

“I fell in love with teaching, and I think it was the mentoring aspect,” said Robinson, who also coached cheerleading at RPBHS, along with a variety of math classes at all levels. “The students saw me as someone they could talk to. They saw me as a role model. I fell in love with working with students. I realized that was my calling. It was something that came so natural to me.”

In addition to her undergraduate degree, Robinson later earned a master’s degree in educational leadership through Capella University and finished her doctoral program in May 2023, also through Capella University.

After teaching math for several years at RPBHS, Robinson transitioned to Florida Virtual School, which gave her more time at home with her two young children. However, she continued to coach cheerleading and do substitute work at RPBHS during this time period.

“In 2008, I decided to come back to the district at Royal Palm Beach High School as the math coach, then served as testing coordinator,” explained Robinson, who was also on the SAC committee.

In 2015, Robinson got her first assistant principal position at Santaluces High School.

“During my tenure there, I was really focused on increasing our accelerated programs, AICE and AP,” she said, adding that she wanted all students to have the opportunity to enroll in these courses. “I helped build a strong college readiness program, so our students were ready when they graduated and went on to college.”

During her time at Santaluces, Robinson helped achieve a significant increase in graduation rates and overall acceleration rates. She was promoted to principal at Tradewinds in January 2022.

“Tradewinds prepared me for leading a comprehensive high school. I was really able to improve upon my leadership skills that I already had,” she said. “Going back to middle school gave me an opportunity to see some of the opportunities for growth that we can expose our ninth graders to.”

Her time at Tradewinds allowed her to see the full scope of students from sixth to 12th grade and gave Robinson insight into providing an additional level of support for their entire secondary experience.

“I really focused on making sure we improved upon our school culture,” she said, explaining that students were coming off the pandemic, which had interrupted their education. “There were a lot of things we had to deal with.”

Working with Santaluces, a feeder school for Tradewinds, she maintained her focus on adding accelerated courses for students.

“Academically, we didn’t have a lot of high school courses when I started,” Robinson said. “I really believe that any student is capable of thriving in any accelerated course if they have the proper support.”

Most recently, the acceleration rate at Tradewinds was 82 percent, making it one of the highest for a Title I school, an accomplishment that Robinson is very proud of.

Returning to RPBHS is a homecoming in more ways than one. A Royal Palm Beach resident, Robinson has a son currently attending the school, as well as a younger son at Cypress Trails Elementary School.

“I am looking forward to immersing myself back into the culture of the school,” she said. “I really want to focus on student achievement and foster student engagement.”

She wants to make sure that every student is involved in activities on campus.

“What can we do as staff to make sure their high school experience is the best experience?” Robinson said.

Her goal is to build on the school’s unique nature.

“Royal Palm Beach High School has always been one of those innovative high schools, whether that be starting the first International Baccalaureate program in the western communities, to expanding the AICE program and the HVAC program. It has a very diverse population, but still very involved. The school truly embraces the community, which allows our students to excel in various domains.”

She is particularly impressed by the commitment from the staff.

“I started at the school in 2004, and to return last week, it melted my heart to see how many teachers were still here from before I first started,” Robinson said. “You know there are some great things happening here.”

Before deciding her direction for the next year, she plans to meet with teachers, students and other stakeholders.

“I am one of those leaders who likes to look, learn and listen,” Robinson said. “We don’t have kids in the building. I need to get out and meet the kids and see what they want from us.”

As an educational leader, she said part of her focus will be on assessment scores and making sure that all students are on track toward graduation. She began meeting with teachers and getting input from them this week.

“I am a very outside the box type of leader. I am never afraid of a challenge,” added Robinson, who said she hopes to be at RPBHS for the long term, perhaps even for the rest of her career.