It is no surprise that our April School of the Month has a history of incubating excellence. The popular tag #VSUExcellence has likely appeared multiple times on social media timelines.
Today we congratulate Mr. Rodney Robinson for being named the 2019 National Teacher of the Year.
Graduating from Virginia State University in 2000, Rodney Robinson currently teaches social studies and history at Virgie Binford Education Center located in the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center.
Robinson’s 19-year teaching career may have been sparked from a particular Black school leader from his high school days, Mr. Wayne Lewis. According to Richmond Times Dispatch, Lewis influenced a young Robinson to attend his alma mater, Virginia State University during a week of in-school suspension.
“It was the first time someone had talked to me about their college days,” Robinson said. “It really got me interested.”
Wayne Lewis, the assistant principal and first black school leader at King William High School, took the time to help Rodney Robinson fill out an application and prepare financial aid documents for his Historically Black University. With this encouragement from an HBCU alum, Robinson became a first-generation college student.
On CBS This Morning Robinson shares that his students at the Juvenile Detention Center are just regular teenagers who require the same education.
“… America is a country of second chances and in order for them to achieve and get that second chance, they deserve a quality education like everybody else”.
He went on to share with the CBS hosts how he carries on teachings of ‘paying it forward and sharing knowledge with the next generation‘ -Lessons taught from his mother and reflected in Historically Black College and University legacies.
Rodney Robinson chooses to advocate for “economic and cultural equity” as the teacher of the year. Working to “make sure all students receive the resources to achieve what he or she deserves,” as well as, “make sure that all students have teachers and people who look like them who are relevant to their culture and can inspire them to do whatever”.