Leaving the Helm: Dobrinic Retires


A. Boyd

After 10 years of being head principal at Pattonville High School, Dr. Joe Dobrinic will be retiring at the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Ms. Teisha Ashford will replace him as head principal beginning July 1, 2021.

After 10 years of being in the crowded hallways and loud lunches at Pattonville High School, Dr. Dobrinic has decided to retire after the 2020-2021 school year. His last day as building principal will be June 30.

Throughout his childhood, Dr. Dobrinic grew up in Bridgeton, going through Bridgeway Elementary, Pattonville Heights Middle School, and Pattonville High School, graduating as the Class of 1988.

Dr. Dobrinic attended MIZZOU (University of Missouri – Columbia) and received an undergraduate degree. He also holds a master’s degree and a specialist degree from Lindenwood University, and a doctoral degree in educational leadership from Maryville University.

Dr. Dobrinic first taught a social studies class at Kirby Middle School, what is now known as Hazelwood East Middle School. He remained at Kirby for 10 years, with the last three years serving as principal.

“The leaders at that school were great individuals, and I just saw what they did and the type of work they did as leaders, and gravitated towards that,” Dr. Dobrinic said.

He was also able to undertake an opportunity to serve as an administrative intern during his fifth year at Kirby.

Dr. Dobrinic then became principal at Pattonville High School in 2011.

After retiring, Dr. Dobrinic plans to travel.

“I have family that lives in Boston and New York City, so I’m going to spend probably the fall up on the east coast,” Dr. Dobrinic stated. “Hopefully, things will open up and I will have that opportunity to do that.”

When asked about the most difficult situation he had encountered during his time at PHS, Dr. Dobrinic explained that the pandemic was the hardest thing he had encountered. “There’s nothing more difficult than what we’ve had to endure over the past year,” he said.

“To see so much change and having to really learn from a totally different perspective at home for six months, that’s been an enormous challenge to make teaching and learning as valuable as possible in light of the pandemic,” Dr. Dobrinic explained.

In the time Dr. Dobrinic has been at the high school, there has been something that he wished he could have changed while he was principal.

“I wish we could have focused in on, or had established more resources in the individual trades at the high school, more hands-on trade-oriented education for students, whether its carpentry, or another class,” he said.

“I would have also really liked to see us make more progress in agricultural education,” Dr. Dobrinic said.

Dr. Dobrinic said the thing he enjoyed most about being principal was that he could help students on an individual basis.

“There are a lot of great things, but when you are really able to work and help a student on an individual level, whether it’s overcoming a difficulty, achieving a goal, getting an opportunity for a scholarship, or to grow as a leader, … it is very awarding,” he said.

Dr. Dobrinic hopes his legacy will be that “we ran a school in a matter that we were able to get pretty much any and every opportunity to students and teachers to develop as students and educators.”

“Hopefully, I played a part in helping to facilitate that,” Dr. Dobrinic said.

Officer Mooney, the School Resource Officer at the high school, has known Dr. Dobrinic since they were kids.

“[Dr. Dobrinic] is a good colleague to lean on in tough times, and he’s been such a part of this community,” Mooney said.

“It’s really neat to see somebody from the neighborhood that’s risen up to be such a community leader, and I’m proud to know him and proud to become a friend, and I will miss him very much.”

“He’s been a very big asset to the community. His family has been a tremendous asset to the community for 40+ years, and it’s been cool how he’s continued the tradition of keeping this a community feel, and I think he has done a tremendous job at continuing that,” Mooney said.

Dr. Dobrinic wanted to thank the PHS community before he leaves.

It’s been an outstanding place to work, as it was when I was a kid, it still is a fantastic community, and it’s a fantastic school, and I still think it’s the best high school in the state … it was a privilege to be a part of that.

— Dr. Joe Dobrinic

If you want to write Dr. Dobrinic a message, fill out the Google Form here.