The past three weeks have resulted in a series of firsts for Jim Roberts, who is nearing the end of his first month as the superintendent of Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp.

From his first day on the job July 1 to his first school board meeting July 18 to the student-centered firsts that will follow with the start of the school year a week from today, the former Batesville superintendent said he is diving head-first into his new role as leader of Columbus public schools.

The new superintendent will also preside over some changes that will lead to firsts for the entire district, such as the introduction of a full-day, five-days-a-week pre-kindergarten program for students at all elementary schools except Clifty Creek, Columbus Signature Academy — Lincoln campus and Schmitt.

Although the packed schedule that always accompanies the start of the school year will leave little downtime for Roberts, it will provide him with ample opportunity to do what he says is the most important task in front of him right now — to do some learning himself.

Whether he’s meeting with district personnel, sitting in on meetings or just getting re-acquainted with the community he once called home, Roberts said he plans to take advantage of every opportunity possible during his first few months to soak up as much information as he can.

“In order to think strategically at all, I first have to understand the surroundings that I find myself in,” Roberts said. “I try to talk to as many people as possible, read, just understand the system that I’m working in.”

For more on this story, see Wednesday’s Republic.

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Olivia Covington is a reporter for The Republic. She can be reached at ocovington@therepublic.com or 812-379-5712.