Arlingtonian sat down with new superintendent Robert Hunt to discuss his plans for Upper Arlington City Schools.
BY THEA POSTALAKIS ’24, PHOTO BY CAMRYN JOHNSON ’24.
With a start date of Aug. 8, Robert Hunt is freshly new to the district. He was hired in February and has been transitioning for most of the spring.
He has been working in education for 26 years, first starting as a middle school language arts teacher. After that, he moved to Chagrin Falls, located in Eastern Cleveland.
“I spent almost 17 years [there] and I just kind of worked my way up as assistant principal at the high school, high school principal, assistant superintendent, and then superintendent for nine years,” he said.
Hunt originally wanted to work for the FBI after going to college at Kent State University, but quickly realized that he would rather work in education.
“It was a teacher for me that really made a difference, kind of inspired me, and made sure that I was doing the things I needed to do,” Hunt said. “And when you have somebody like that, it just really kind of sticks with you for your entire life.”
Hunt has always wanted to be a part of the education system specifically in Columbus, however.
“My wife and I had always wanted to get to Columbus and be a part of kind of the education system down here, part of the conversation around schools at the state level, but you know, nothing was opening, nothing was opening.”
But in late December, Hunt received the call inviting him to UA. It seemed to be the perfect fit for him.
“This district is one that really wants to create an environment where students can pursue their passions. So when you look at the number of offerings and the things that are in place, there’s a true belief… every student is unique and different, and we need to meet them where they’re at and move them forward,” he said.
Hunt’s plans for this year include being an open listener to all to figure out what areas UA needs to improve, to then achieving those goals through collaboration and hard work.
“I’m structuring my goals for the board around listening and engaging with students, staff and community so I want to be able to create formal opportunities to meet with each one of those groups,”
That can include board meetings or calls, but also casual talks with students about their opinions with events at UA. One of Hunt’s main goals is prioritizing the student’s ideas.
“I want to do a lot of listening and learning early,” Hunt said.
His next move includes taking those ideas and putting them into action.
“There is an opportunity with where the district is with its strategic plan to really then bring everybody together and say, ‘Okay, what do we want, what’s the next iteration of success look like here?’ and working collaboratively to create that,” he said. “My goal is to, by the end of [the] year, to have a clear path in the direction that the district is going in the next three to five years. And then the fun time is actually doing that work.”
Hunt’s family joined him in the district at the end of June. He has four kids; two that will be attending Greensview this fall, one in college, and one in Worthington teaching.
His family has been another motivator for this job.
“I was not only looking at this job as a superintendent, but as a parent as well,” he said.
In his free time, Hunt enjoys spending time with his family, as well as golfing, but would not proclaim himself a “golfer”.
Hunt believes Upper Arlington is continuously trying to improve itself and innovate new ways in education. One of the things that enticed him is the district’s interest in the students and their needs.
“Everything from the programs that are here to the facilities demonstrates the community cares about at schools, which isn’t the case everywhere,” Hunt explained.
Hunt is very excited to be a part of Upper Arlington’s ideals and community.
“That to me, is the kind of the mindset I’ve always had, that growth mindset of wanting to improve and do better, and so I’m just happy to be a part of an environment that is receptive to that,” Hunt said.