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Smooth start to school year

Colony Oak School principal big on communication

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Smooth start to school year

Ziggy Robeson (middle), who is the new principal at Colony Oak Elementary School, thanked her office staff consisting of Marsha Silva (left) and Norma Elsumri for a successful first day of school.

VINCE REMBULAT/The Bulletin


POSTED August 28, 2014 1:14 a.m.

Ziggy Robeson couldn’t have asked for a better first day of school.

Earlier this month, the new principal at Colony Oak Elementary School welcomed an estimated 550 kindergarten- through- eighth- grade students. Of that, 140 of them – fourth through sixth graders – came from Weston Elementary School.

“We’re looking to doing a lot of sharing,” said Robeson, who was hired over the summer. “We want to create that type of culture.”

This includes a joint effort with the Weston / Colony Oak Parent Faculty Clubs for this year. Principal Lisa Fereria has her temporary office at Colony Oak but will be visiting the other Ripon Unified school sites accommodating her pupils.

Weston, meanwhile, is closed for renovations made possible by the voter-approved Measure G funding. Students there will return to new campus by July 2015 consisting of Multi-Purpose Building with an indoor gym coupled with permanent classrooms.

For now, the Weston kindergarten and first graders are at Park View Elementary School while the second- and third- grade students are at Ripona Elementary School.

Seventh and eighth graders are attending Ripon Elementary School.

Colony Oak is also part of that same $25.2 million bond measure. Work is still in the planning stages and Robeson is looking forward to being part of that process.

“A key factor is getting families and the community involved,” she said. “This is critical to any facilities project.”

Robeson was a principal for 20 years at Rio Linda. She was part of a school district that was later absorbed by the Twin River Unified School District.

Construction projects and the shuffling of students are nothing new to her. 

“I’ve been through this at multiple sites. The tough part is trying to be visible and available to all your students,” she said.

Robeson still resides in Sacramento area but is looking to joining her new community. She’s no stranger to the Central Valley – her parents were immigrants to Lodi, a place she calls her second home.

While she has a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy-Making, Robeson has a strong background in the arts – especially music and dance – as well as science and technology development.

 Her teaching background includes working with preschool through adults.

Robeson recently taught a course for educators at UC Davis entitled ‘Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement through Data Management.’

She’s also worked in private and charter schools during her 32 years in education.

At Colony Oak, Robeson indicated that the first day went “flawless.”

For that, she thanked her seasoned and talented staff.

Next up is meeting up with parents during Back to School Night. She’s also looking forward to sitting down one-on-one with her staff to gather input.

Communication plays a big role in her job. Robeson’s philosophy on that is open and ongoing. “I always believe in asking,” she said.

In addition, Robeson, who is married with two children, has written and published many educational articles and has conducted research in Asia and Europe.

She does volunteer activities that include assisting at summer camps, working at local libraries, and serving on a variety of community boards and councils.

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