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Richmond Public Schools made national news yesterday (April 24) when one of our own, Mr. Rodney Robinson was named 2019’s National Teacher of the Year.

CBS This Morning broke the announcement Wednesday morning during their live broadcast. Robinson, a history teacher at Virgie Binford Education Center inside the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center beat other finalists from across the nation to win the distinguished award.


A 19-year Richmond Public Schools’ veteran, Robinson earned his Bachelor’s Degree in History from Virginia State University and a Master’s in Administration and Supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University. He was previously an instructor at Brown Middle School, Wythe High and Armstrong High.

A tireless advocate for his students, Robinson uses his gift to educate and empower those that society tends to forget.

With a national treasure right here in Richmond, we can’t help but take notes. Here are 5 lessons we learned from Richmond’s Rodney Robinson, National Teacher Of The Year:

1. The importance of an equitable environment. “Every child deserves the proper amount of love to get what he or she needs,” Robinson notes. “That was my first lesson in equity. So, I try to treat my students with whatever they need to be successful. Some need more, some need less, but I’m going to be there to give you what you need.” Robinson shares that he got his outlook on education from his mother.

An equitable environment goes a long way. Instead of tensions between student and teacher roles, it fosters mutual respect and in-turn a productive classroom.

2. Never stop paying it forward. It is gratifying seeing a child succeed. Robinson is not shy about illustrating that he does it all for his students. “They have succumbed to the pressure of urban living and made mistakes that they are paying for, but they still deserve and strive for success. They are my inspiration, and I will fight to my last heartbeat for them,” Robinson says.

3. Kids deserve a second chance. Life is not disposable. Just like adults, youth also make mistakes and deserve a second chance. “It’s a great opportunity to tell my students that sometimes a temporary setback could be what you need in order to succeed in life,” Robinson says.

4. One size does not fit all. Robinson notes that all students deserve a great education, but not every student is on the same level. As a teacher, his goal is to make sure every kid gets what they need to achieve at a high level.

5. Changing the world only starts with one person, YOU! No entourage or Fortune 500 company cred necessary. Real change begins with just one person making a serious effort.

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