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By Miriam Raftery

June 5, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – After 43 years in public service, Grossmont Union High School Superintendent Robert “Bob” Collins is leaving the public sector to accept a position with a private company. Yesterday, community leaders in business, education and government held a surprise send-off event at Monte Vista Village in Lemon Grove to honor Collins.

The City and County both declared Friday, June 4th as “Robert Collins Day.” Charlene Zettel presented a proclamation from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Supervisor Dianne Jacob praised Collins as “best in class” and joked, “Our strategy is to weight you down with so many awards and proclamations that you will decide not to leave.”

NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson sent an autographed photograph (photo, right) and a representative who delivered a message to Collins that read, “Congratulations on your final laps in public education.”

GUHSD Board president Robert Shields credited Collins with doing a “tremendous job of integrating East County education and the business community.” Mayor Mary Sessom of Lemon Grove and representatives from La Mesa, El Cajon and Santee also presented recognitions to Collins, as did leaders of the San Diego East-County Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Cindy Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, presented Collins with a hardhat topped by a piece of piping (photo, left) and praised Collins for providing area high school students with a “pipeline to higher education.”

Law enforcement also praised his efforts to keep students safe. “In the last ten years, 69,000 teen drivers were killed behind the wheel,” a CHP spokesperson told the retiring Superintendent, thanking him for allowing CHP representatives to speak in local schools. “Through your leadership, we think we’ve saved many lives.”

Congressman Duncan D. Hunter presented Collins with a flag that has flown over the U.S. capitol as well as a resolution honoring his accomplishments (photo, right).

Collins declared himself “humbled and speechless” by the accolades. “What I’ve learned is that East County is composed of the most unique individuals I’ve ever met,” he said, then praised the GUHSD board of trustees for “giving me the opportunity to provide this type of leadership.” He also thanked teachers, staff, and GUHSD director of affairs Catherine Martin for their efforts.

The popular Superintendent also praised the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College district. “We have the best community college district in the state. They are exceptional—a treasure,” he said.

In addition, he praised Chamber of Commerce leaders (photo, left), adding that he has been involved with “hundreds” of Chambers through the years. “This is a Chamber with a vision and a focus that is truly making a difference in East County.” Collins also thanked elected officials for their interest in public schools, and acknowledged support from his wife of 41 years.


Collins assured those present that he is confident the Board will choose a replacement Superintendent who will continue his policies and progress in the district, which has seen test scores rise, truancy rates fall, and relations with district teachers and staff improve on Collins’ watch.

“East County San Diego is truly a great place to live and have a family,” he concluded. “Thank you for letting me be a part of this wonderful experience.”


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