As a veteran teacher at a troubled high school in Richmond, Rodney Robinson wanted to better understand why so many students go directly from school to prison. So he took a job teaching students at a juvenile detention center.
Four years later, Robinson has been chosen as the 2019 National Teacher of the Year for his dedication to helping disadvantaged students move beyond their mistakes.
This is the first time and RPS teacher has been named National Teacher of the Year. Robinson is a Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia State University, graduate.
“I give my kids empathy, not sympathy, and that’s the key,” Robinson told The Associated Press.
“It’s all about empathizing — understanding their situation, but teaching them how to overcome.”
Statement from RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras:
Words cannot express how proud we are of Mr. Robinson and how thrilled we are to have him represent Richmond Public Schools and the entire United States teaching profession. Rodney teaches and leads with love – love for his students and their families, love for his colleagues, and love for his community. He sees the hope, promise, and potential in every single one of the young people he teaches and gives his entire self to them, in and out of the classroom. He represents everything we stand for: boundless love for our students, a fierce commitment to equity, and an unyielding pursuit of excellence. There is simply no one more honorable and more deserving of this recognition than Mr. Robinson. On behalf of the entire RPS family, we congratulate him on being named the 2019 National Teacher of the Year!
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