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Richmond Teacher Names 2019 National Teacher is the Year

By: Crystal M. Cash

Richmond’s own Rodney Robinson has been selected as the 2019 National Teacher of the Year. This award, which originated in 1952, is presented by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), an organization made up of public officials that head educational departments in the United States. The program is designed to recognize excellence in teaching and advocate for the educational profession.

Robinson has been a teacher for nineteen years and is currently teaching at the Virgie Binford Education Center located within the Richmond Juvenile Justice Center. Much has been written about the “school-to-prison” pipeline which impacts many youths and young people of color in the United States. Robinson is doing his best to change this systemic trend from within.

Robinson’s students range from twelve to nineteen years old, and while some of his students have been at the Justice Center for years, there are also students who have been there for only a day or two, having just entered the justice system. With such a transient student population, Robinson uses concepts that his students are familiar with in order to teach them about subjects like history and social studies.

Helping them through what can otherwise be a very stressful time in their young lives, Robinson works hard to become a mentor to his students. He encourages all of his students to use the time spent in his classroom as a reset and to reevaluate the path they are on. Robinson sees his students just like any other student in Virginia. In an interview with Richmond Public Schools, Robinson stated, “They have made mistakes, but they still have hopes and dreams and it is my job to help them achieve them.”

Rodney Robinson’s positive attitude and passion for teaching and molding young minds has garnered not only local but national attention, and leading to his selection as National Teacher of the Year. Please join the Halperin Law Center in congratulating Mr. Robinson on this well-deserved award and recognizing the incredible difference he is making each and every day in our local community.