National Teacher of the Year Award Winner Speaks at Yale National Initiative October 30, 2019 – Posted in: Uncategorized

Rodney Robinson, a three-time fellow at the Yale National Initiative (YNI) Summer Intensive program, was named Teacher of the Year by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). He addressed Yale’s Annual Conference on Saturday, October 26th, where Teachers Institute fellows from around the country had gathered to celebrate the completion of their unit-writing process. He explained the challenges of his former role teaching in a juvenile detention facility in Richmond, Virginia, and described his new life as an advocate for public education.

Robinson has observed that most of his students had been arrested because they committed what he described as “crimes of survival.” He believes that with proper social supports, fewer young people would commit such crimes and incarceration rates would drop.

Traveling around the country, speaking on behalf of education, and meeting elected officials has shown Robinson that educational problems are pervasive but there are bright spots in unexpected places. Believing that it is impossible to predict where and how you will make an impact, he accepted an invitation to meet President Trump when many of his colleagues had declined.