Robert Brinson retired in 1998 as superintendent of the Clinton Central School Corporation, completing a 37-year career that included 12 years as a classroom teacher and 25 years as a school administrator. A native of Henry County, Brinson graduated from Purdue University in 1958 with a B.S. He earned his M.S. in 1965 and his Ed.S. in 1978, both from Purdue.
After completing his undergraduate degree, Brinson served two years in the U. S. Army at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. His classroom teaching career began at Fayette Central High School near Connersville. In 1961, he was hired as the vocational agriculture teacher at Clinton Central. He established a highly regarded agricultural education program for secondary students and adults alike. During his tenure, the Clinton Central FFA Chapter was recognized with numerous awards, including being named the number one chapter in Indiana for four years, number two chapter for four years, National Gold Emblem chapter for five years, and Silver Emblem for three years. His FFA judging teams in livestock, soils and crops were in the state finals every year of his last ten years of teaching, and he coached four state champion Parliamentary Procedure teams. His students’ achievements included: 62 Hoosier FFA Degrees, four American FFA Degrees; one State FFA President; six state officers; one Indiana FFA Star State Farmer; and five District Star Farmers.
Brinson established three Young Farmer chapters serving 36 families. One chapter was named Indiana’s top chapter in 1971, and one continues to meet more than 40 years later. He also established an Agricultural Cooperative Education Program for placing seniors in afternoon jobs each day. For ten years, he conducted adult education courses that included Farm Management courses during the winter and Welding and Farm Mechanics classes taught in three-hour sessions.
In 1973 he became assistant principal, then in 1978 became the principal of Clinton Central. During these years, and the subsequent 12 as superintendent, Brinson continued his commitment to agricultural education, hiring two teachers on twelve month contracts to insure year-round instruction. For 23 years he served in the dual role of Vocational Director for the school corporation. He worked to build a high school class schedule that minimized conflicts with Agricultural Science and Business classes. In 1980 he led a movement to expand the agricultural education facilities by adding a classroom, a shop, a new tool room, and additional storage and workroom areas. With his support, the department and the Clinton Central FFA Chapter continued to thrive, receiving additional state and national recognition, and the Young Farmer chapters grew to seven, serving 155 families.
Brinson’s service to the agricultural education profession includes serving as supervising teacher for 14 student teachers from Purdue. Five of his own students became Agricultural Science and Business teachers. He guided more than 200 students to Purdue University to study agriculture, engineering, and science or to enroll in the Ag Winter Short Course. He served 10 years on the Indiana FFA Consultant Committee, and six years as consultant to the Indiana Secondary School Principals on vocational and agricultural education. He served as Indiana State FFA Convention Parliamentarian (3 years) and Indiana Vocational Association State Convention Parliamentarian (3 years). Other committee service included: Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents (IAPSS) – Vocational and Educational Technical Committee (8 years); IAPSS liaison to the Indiana Commission on Vocational and Technical Education (6 years); and Purdue University Agricultural Education Advisory Committee (15 years).
In retirement, Brinson has remained active in community service activities. He is a 12-year member of Frankfort Rotary, and has been a Farm Bureau member for more than 20 years. He has served for four years on the Clinton County Area Plan Commission, and is currently in his second elected term on the Clinton Central School Board. Brinson has served as vice president, and now is president, of the Area Four Agency on Aging and Community Action Programs, and eight-county agency with a budget of $8M and 130 employees. He serves on the board of the Clinton County Community Foundation. With his wife, Brinson established two annual scholarships to support Purdue students in Agricultural Education. He has served for over eight years on the Clinton and Carroll County Head Start Policy Council, and serves as the council’s liaison to the Area 4 Board which administers Head Start for 3 to 5 year-olds who are disabled or economically disadvantaged. Brinson is chair of the administrative council and chair of the finance committee of the Michigantown United Methodist Church. A 44-year member of the church, he has taught Sunday School for 30 years and served as Sunday School Superintendent for 12 years.
Brinson’s awards and honors include: Honorary State FFA Degree (1967); National FFA Honorary Degree (1980); IAPSS Retirement Award (1988); Outstanding Administrator of Adult Agriculture Education Award of the Indiana Young Farmers (1990).