Robert Abney has been principal at Los Lunas High School for two years. He’s in his 27th year in education. Abney lives in Los Lunas with his wife, Alicia. They have two daughters, Noela, 27, and Kaley, 19.
Q What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?
A “I enjoy the quiet because there isn’t always much of that. I also talk to myself because I find that I often need expert advice.”
Q What was the last gift you gave someone?
A “For Valentine’s Day, I framed my wife’s college diplomas for her office.”
Q What were you like in high school?
A “I really had a hard time fitting in because I was smart and I wanted to be an athlete, but my body and my athletic ability hadn’t gotten on the same page yet. I was 6-foot, 6-inches tall and 165 pounds, so I had to dance in the shower to get wet.”
Q What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
A “I’m a high school principal. Kids do things that make me laugh every day!”
Q What did you want to be when you grew up?
A “I had planned to write the next great American novel. You can see how well that’s gone for me.”
Q Who inspires you?
A “My dad is the smartest person I know and makes me want to be a better man every day.”
Q What is your birth order in your family, and do you think it influences who you are?
A “I have a younger brother, who is the girls’ basketball coach at Las Cruces High School. He was a much better athlete and is a much better coach than I ever was. I don’t know as it has influenced who I am, other than I am extremely proud of him and his family.”
Q What do you do in your free time?
A “In a perfect world, I would ride my bicycle and fish every day. I also referee basketball. People ask why I would want people yelling at me all the time; I say, how is that different than what I do every day?”
Q What’s the most interesting thing about you?
A “People are always intrigued by how tall I am. For the record, I am 6-foot, 7-inches tall.”
Q If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
A “A duckbilled platypus because things aren’t always what they appear.”
Q You find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
A “Depends — did my wife or I buy it and misplace it?”
Q Who is your best friend and why?
A “Dave Vigil and I have been friends since middle school, and we’ve known each other since we were 9. We don’t get to hang out as much as we have in the past, but we go fish three to four times a year, and (as good friends do), we just pick up where we left off last time we talked.”
Q What’s your favorite song to sing when you’re alone?
A “Depends. There are three kinds of music: Stuff you like, stuff you don’t and stuff you haven’t heard yet. I like a lot of music.”
Q Where is your happy place, and why?
A “A brisk morning fishing on a lake, or riding my bicycle on the bosque.”
Q Have you had a life-changing experience that led you to where you are today?
A “We all have experiences that shape who we are and how we see the world. Too many for me to list here.”
Q What teacher had the greatest impact on you?
A “The hardest class I ever took was a U.S. History class when I attended New Mexico Military Institute, with Dr. William Gibbs. Good teachers do two things: They love you to death, and they kick your butt. He did more than that; when I became a teacher, I tried to leave kids with the same experience I had with him.”
Q If you could live in any other time, when might that be and why?
A “One of my favorite books is ‘A World Lit Only By Fire,’ and I think it would be fascinating to be a fly on the wall in that time in history.”
Q If you could have dinner with one famous person from history, who would it be?
A “Jackie Robinson. As a sports fan, and especially a baseball fan, who has done more to change the landscape of American sports?”
Q What are you most proud of?
A “My goal every day is to make Los Lunas High School a place where students, staff and community members are beating down the doors to get in, not out. Do I always succeed? No. But the goal is always the same.”
Q How would you like to be remembered?
A “Wow … I can’t tell you how many kids over the years have found me, whether on social media or in person, and said that I did something that made them want to go to college, or be a teacher, or major in history, or … something like that. When you’re young and become a teacher, you don’t really understand the power you have with kids, and the possibilities you can create for them.
“In the end, I hope that the kids I served knew that I cared deeply about them, and that I did everything I could to create a situation for them that would help them be successful after they moved on.”