The Fort Atkinson School District Board of Education is committed to the District’s mission in serving the students and community of Fort Atkinson. With this continued commitment, and as announced on 2/6, the Board has unanimously appointed Dr. Robert Abbott as the new Superintendent for the School District of Fort Atkinson. In addition to Dr. Abbott’s 23 years of administrative service, the Board is excited for the wealth of knowledge, community commitment and focus on achievement he brings to this important role.
Dr. Abbott has served as principal of Fort Atkinson Middle School prior to accepting the Interim-Superintendent role in October of 2019 and the Superintendent assignment in February of 2020.
“Dr. Abbott is a veteran educator in Fort Atkinson and has shown tremendous leadership throughout his time with the Fort Atkinson School District, and most recently, serving as Interim-Superintendent. The Board of Education is confident that Dr. Abbott will lead the District with a continued commitment to our District’s mission,” commented Mark Chaney, President of the Board of Education for the School District of Fort Atkinson.
Dr. Abbott graduated from Stevens Point Area Senior High School. After graduation, Dr. Abbott attended St. Cloud State University to complete his Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education with a minor in English and certifications in middle-level education. He then began his career in education as a middle school math and science teacher in the Tomorrow River School District. Dr. Abbott received his Master’s Degree in educational leadership from Marian University in 1998. Dr. Abbott joined the School District of Fort Atkinson in 1997 as a Middle School Associate Principal. In 2000, Abbott accepted the principalship at Fort Atkinson Middle School and has led the school for twenty years.
Dr. Abbott received a Doctorate of educational leadership from Edgewood College in 2007.
Dr. Abbott holds administrative licensure as Superintendent, Director of Instruction, and Pre K-12 Principal as well as educator licensure for grades 1-8 and middle-level English 6-9.
In his 23 years of experience with the School District of Fort Atkinson, Dr. Abbott has been involved with and led many district-wide initiatives set in motion by the school district’s strategic plan at all levels of the organization.
Education has been Dr. Abbott’s family vocation for generations. Both Dr. Abbott’s grandmothers taught in one-room schoolhouses in central Wisconsin, his mother worked for a district superintendent throughout her career, and his father was a life-long high school teacher and coach.
Dr. Abbott has led several key academic initiatives as Middle School principal such as increasing the school report card performance and established a strong focus on whole-child instruction to meet the unique needs of adolescent learners. Over the last several years, he has reworked the middle school schedule to allow for students to spend more time in English language arts and math, while maintaining adequate time for electives. In addition, Dr. Abbott implemented robust math and literacy intervention programs to assist middle school learners. In an effort to build connectivity between the middle school students and the community, he has designed programming and offered a variety of opportunities for students. One of Dr. Abbott’s highly recognized academic accomplishments is leading the district team in securing the International Literacy Association Award for Exemplary Reading Program.
Dr. Abbott commented, “It is difficult to leave the Fort Atkinson Middle School; the middle school has literally been my family for better than two decades. We have done some incredible work and made some great strides in learning at FAMS over the years. I am extremely proud of the collective efforts of our FAMS team. While leaving the middle school will be hard, I look forward to continuing to serve the FAMS learning community as well as serving our other 5 building learning communities in a new way.”
Dr. Abbott is not known for sitting still. Among other hobbies and interests he enjoys completing home projects, landscaping, cooking, travel, spending time with family, anything around water, his pets, and, when his joints will allow, running. An avid distance runner, Dr. Abbott has completed multiple marathons, many half-marathons, as well as several other races. While crossing the finish line is always an emotional rush, it’s the hundreds of miles leading up to that moment where the real satisfaction lies. It is the culmination of planning, training, sacrifice, and endurance that leads to the successful completion of a goal. There could not possibly be a stronger parallel to that of educational leadership.
Dr. Abbott has lived in Fort Atkinson for his entire tenure and has two daughters who have attended Fort Atkinson public schools. Kate is completing graduate school at the University of Wisconsin in the area of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. Quinn is a sophomore at Fort Atkinson High School, perhaps looking to a future in education.
“Serving the School District of Fort Atkinson for over 23 years has allowed me to truly "live" what makes our District great. My longevity in Fort Atkinson has been by choice. I believe we can build on our past to inform and serve our future; it is a privilege to have been asked to serve as the Superintendent of Schools in Fort Atkinson,” Abbott explained.
When asked about the status of the District within this transition, Dr. Abbott shared, “Our District is positioned for some incredible growth. With the hopeful passage of our operating referendum in April, we will be on course to continue the work we have begun over the past few months. Since taking the interim role in October, we have not lost a beat. We are on track with our referendum, our Facilities Advisory Committee is on schedule, and we have moved to a much greater focus on school improvement plans.” When asked about his vision for the District under his leadership, Dr. Abbott shared, “We have some incredible things happening in our District, we also have some improvements to make to fully realize our mission. In the future, we will be readjusting our District’s strategic focus to be related specifically to student growth and achievement. Fort Atkinson cannot rest with simply being a good District; there is always more on the path to being great. We have some hard work to do, changes to make, retooling to consider, and community to build- all the things I am excited to lead.
Overall, Dr. Abbott concludes, “The best lies ahead for the School District of Fort Atkinson. We are One District, One Team, One Community and it is with immense pride that I have been asked to lead our District into its next chapter.”
Dr. Rob Abbott