Buchler leaves her mark on Mattawan schools

Paul Garrod - news4garrod@vineyardpress.biz
	After nearly 40 years in education, as a teacher and an administrator, Dr. Robin Buchler will retire Tuesday, June 30, as superintendent of Mattawan Consolidated School.	Courier-Leader photo/Paul Garrod

    MATTAWAN - Marking nearly 40 years in education, as a teacher and administrator, Dr. Robin Buchler will retire Tuesday, June 30, as superintendent of Mattawan Consolidated School.
    Dr. Buchler, who announced  last November of her plans to retire, has served in the post for the past five years. Previously, she had been the district’s assistant superintendent of instruction for four years.
    Prior to that, Dr. Buchler served three years, from 2008 to 2011, as principal of the Van Buren Intermediate School District’s Bert Goens Learning Center. She also was Mattawan’s special-education coordinator from 2003 to 2006, and worked as a special education teacher for West Ottawa (MI)  Public Schools.
    Dr. Buchler said, “I still believe today there is no better profession. I am very proud of the  work we have been able to do together over the past five  years for the students, staff, and families of Mattawan.”
    She credited the early influences of her parents who took in foster children at their home, as a starting point for her career in education.
    At age 17, Dr. Buchler found herself working with At Risk students. “I just loved it,” she said.
    She graduated  from Hope College, Holland, in 1983,  where she majored in special education. She received a master’s de-gree in special education from Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, and in 2013 earned her doctorate in educational leadership from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo.
    During Dr. Buchler’s time at Mattawan  Consolidated School District, voters  approved a $19 million bond proposal to demolish old school buildings. As superintendent, she oversaw the construction of two new elementary schools. The Later Elementary School opened in  2017 and the Early Elementary School opened in 2018.
    Also during her time at Mattawan, she  has overseen the  implementation of several new district-wide events and activities, including  the Hall of Honor, Annual Day of Giving, Catalyst, and the Food Truck Festival.
    She has also presented groundwork for the   im-plementation of an Early Childhood Education Center, reconfiguring an empty building for that. She said that project is an area that  is “very important” to her.
    Dr. Buchler has also  increased partnerships with the community, as well as the Antwerp Township Senior Services. “I will miss those,” she said.
    As she empties out her office, she said she will  miss the students and their voices that carried through the buildings’ hallways, as well as the many extra-curricular activities that she attended  during her tenure.
    “It was a chance to celebrate  with them and see them in a different light,” she said.
    Dr. Buchler and her husband of 27 years, have purchased an 1862 farmhouse near Fennville, which they plan to re-store. She looks forward to writing a book on antiques and treasures that she discovers and uncovers at the farmhouse. And when she is not writing or restoring, she plans to take violin lessons.
    Van Buren Intermediate  School District Superintendent Jeff Mills expressed his gratitude  to Dr. Buchler and her longtime commitment to education.  “Robin Buchler is a leader who has gone above and beyond in providing educational opportunities for students.  Unless you have been a superintendent before, people don’t realize that you are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said. “In most cases, the school district is the largest employer in the community, is the largest food provider, the largest transportation department, and provides the core learning lessons and experiences to start your pathway in life.
    “Dr. Buchler, needs to be commended for the positive energy and passion she provided  in over-seeing all these departments and providing quality programs for the families and students in the Mattawan community. Congratulations on a job well done!”

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