Rodney Robinson named 2019 Alumni Star

SOE alumnus, other honorees recognized at Science Museum event

Rodney Robinson, SOE alum and 2019 National Teacher of the Year

Rodney Robinson (M.Ed. ’11/E) (Photo courtesy of Rodney Robinson)

VCU School of Education alumnus Rodney Robinson (M.Ed. ’11/E) has been named one of VCU Alumni's 2019 Alumni Stars. Robinson and other honorees were recognized in a special ceremony recently at the Science Museum of Virginia.

Below is Robinson's bio, which is shared on the VCU Alumni website.

Since 2015, Rodney Robinson has taught history to students in sixth through 12th grades at Virgie Binford Education Center, part of the Richmond, Virginia, public schools that serves kids in the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center. Many of the students at the center haven’t been to class regularly in years, often because of chaotic life circumstances that have caused school attendance to fall through the cracks. Robinson sees one of his main duties as helping his students deal with trauma and confusion enough to reset and get on track.

Robinson, who has taught in Richmond-area public schools since 2000, was recruited to the Binford Education Center by principal Ta’Neshia Ford (M.Ed.’06/E; Cert.’09/E). Ford had worked with Robinson when both were at Armstrong High School in Richmond. “I saw firsthand his passion for at-risk students, his love of history and his mentorship for our male students,” she says. “It is so powerful to see his interactions with young men of color.”

Robinson also works with other educators at the center to create a plan for the students to help change their relationship to the classroom. His efforts have earned him increasing recognition: He was named Teacher of the Year for the Richmond region in September 2018, the 2018-19 Virginia Teacher of the Year and, in May, Robinson was named National Teacher of the Year.

The heightened attention has given him the chance to spread the word about the need to fund programs for at-risk kids, to build detention centers that are more conducive to learning and to find positive role models for students throughout the school system.

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