Doctor prescribes a lifetime of education

While a Friendswood School Board member’s primary focus is on students,

Kindergarten through twelfth grade, Trustee Dr. Matt Robinson is also very concerned about

what happens to students after they graduate from high school.

“It’s surprising; the number of people who have just finished college, have a bachelor’s degree

and can’t get a job in their intended field.” Robinson elaborated: “In other words, it’s not ‘If you

get a Bachelor’s degree, everything will be fine.’ Maybe that was the case twenty or thirty years

ago, but not now.”

He’s well aware the world is changing, along with job prospects, opportunities and personal

goals. “It’s really not about grades or intelligence. It’s about where your interests are and where

the jobs are, in terms of what you are going to do beyond high school,” he said.

When Robinson first started college, he was aiming to become a Ph.D. ornithologist (a type of

zoologist who focuses on birds). “I got a job working in a hospital and I really liked it. That’s

what led me to go to medical school,” Robinson explained.

After four years of medical school and five years of residency, Robinson is now an experienced

urologist at Methodist St. John Hospital in Clear Lake.

So when he says, “It’s really not about grades or intelligence. It’s about where your interests are

and where the jobs are, in terms of what you are going to do beyond high school,” Robinson is a

living example.

In addition to a spotlight on post-high school success, Robinson also has had an eye on a

certain group of current students since he came on the school board in 2008. “I want to focus

on the C students and help them become A/B students and encourage students to go into

science related fields,” he said. (Robinson said he was an A/B student at Brazoswood High

“I think that in Friendswood, we need to make sure we don’t leave anyone behind. It’s not so

much that we make sure that everybody gets A’s and B’s, it’s more of making sure that students

who normally get C’s are getting just as much focus and attention as the kids who are getting

A’s and B’s,” said Robinson.

He’s very proud of how FISD administrators, teachers and staff provide good opportunities for

all students to reach their potential.

“Like all of our Board Members, Dr. Robinson brings a perspective to the group that is unique

and well informed,” said Trish Hanks, FISD’s Superintendent. “His medical knowledge, coupled

with the opportunities he has had to be an employer and employee, are all helpful qualities and

serve the District well. Being married to Pam and the father of three is an additional bonus for

While keeping busy with family, a medical practice, the School Board and other activities,

Robinson still has made time to look at education on a statewide level. “In the last few years,

I’ve noticed that you hear a lot of negatives about public education. Being here in Friendswood,

being on the Board, seeing how things are in Friendswood ISD and having my own children

experience this school district, I kept thinking, ‘That’s not at all how things are here.’ I got more

and more frustrated and that I wanted to ‘spread the word’ and have an exchange of ideas with

people in other districts. Also, I wanted to ‘take our show on the road,’” Robinson said.

He was part of a group of 36 school board members from across Texas who met five times

(long weekends) in different locations as part of the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB)

program called, “Leadership TASB.”

He learned: “We are doing things quite well here and not spending a whole lot of money,

relative to the state average, and getting very good results. That seems to be something that the

media and the politicians are trying to find out, ‘How do we do that?’”

Inexpensive education happened in the Robinson household, with Matt and Pat reading to

the kids. “Goodnight Moon” and anything from Dr. Seuss were favorites. “We probably started

reading to them at the age of two, if not before. In talking to parents here (in Friendswood), I

think that’s the norm.”

“When you think about the education of a two, three or four year old, most of that is a parent

reading to their child at home. It requires very little money to buy a children’s book or to get one

from the Friendswood Library,” Robinson said.

“Once a child gets into elementary school, when they come home, the parents asking about

their homework and maybe helping them with their homework also does not require any money.

As the parents, you don’t have to be wealthy or have a college education to do that,” Robinson


He feels one of his roles as a Board Member is to reach out to parents with the “education

begins at home” message.

The current makeup of the FISD Board includes people with experience in medicine, dentistry,

law, spiritual leadership, finance, engineering and education. If it were up to him to add another

position, Robinson didn’t hesitate to answer, “Stay at home mom.”

“I think it gives a different perspective that we don’t have. I think it would be beneficial to have

another woman on the board,” he said.

As he continues to serve, “The number one thing is being a part of something that is really

amazing. Having been around the state seeing other school districts, I can say our District is

quite exceptional. It feels really good to be a part of that.”

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