Educator of the Month – Rob Akers: An All-Pro Principal

Long-time educators Lyn and Jon Akers raised an all-pro son – David Akers, a 12-year NFL kicker who now plays for the San Francisco 49ers. If they selected all-pros for school principals, David’s brother would be first in line for the award.

Rob Akers, 42, has been principal at Woodford County High for seven years, a time of significant accomplishments
for the school of 1,250 students. In the recent statewide standardized tests, Woodford County scored in the 87th percentile, tops among all Central Kentucky schools. Along with academic advances, the school has developed a top-rate art program, and its marching band has grown dramatically, finishing eighth in the state this year.

In athletics, the baseball team won its first state championship last spring, the wrestling team has captured
13 state titles and the soccer teams are often among the best in the state.

All of that success derives from a commitment to what Akers calls the new school motto — “Hail Woodford-The Gold Standard.” (The school’s colors are black and gold.)

After he first arrived at Woodford County, the school lacked a defining mission. After consulting with parents,
teachers, students and community members, the school vowed to become a gold-standard institution.

That informs everything at the school — academics, arts, athletics and attitude. At meetings, staff members ask, “Are we making a gold standard decision?”

And it all starts with Akers.

“He so exemplifies the gold standard,”said Sara Swinford, the school social worker for five years. “He greets students in the morning. He’s in the lunchroom, classrooms and hallways. He balances supporting students while holding them accountable. He has a special gift relating to people because he’s so genuine.”

Akers credits a culture of caring with a group of exceptional teachers.

“Every kid has somebody in their corner,” he said. “We work with students outside of the classroom and with families. It’s part of the culture here.”

Akers hires people who buy into the concept of caring and creates an atmosphere that allows success.

“My role is to get great people, put them in place and turn them loose,” he said. “We have outstanding teachers and kids here.”