Teachers against a grafittied wall.

Richmond Educator Named 2019 Virginia Teacher of the Year

by | Oct 20, 2018 | Schools & Education

RICHMOND, Va. — Rodney A. Robinson, a history teacher at Virgie Binford Education Center in Richmond, was named 2019 Virginia Teacher of the Year Tuesday evening during a recognition ceremony at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in Richmond. He was selected from eight regional winners announced last month and is now the commonwealth’s nominee for 2019 National Teacher of the Year.

Robinson, the Region 1 Teacher of the Year, was selected as the state’s top teacher after being interviewed by a committee that included representatives of professional and educational associations and the business community. Virginia’s First Lady Pamela Northam announced the selection of Robinson.

Robinson is a 19-year veteran of Richmond Public Schools, and began teaching at Virgie Binford Education Center — a school inside of the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center — in 2015. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Virginia State University and a master’s degree administration and supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University.

“Most importantly, I want to thank my students,” Robinson said in accepting the award. “My students are the most vulnerable kids in society. They have succumbed to the pressure of urban living and made mistakes that they are paying for but they still persevere and strive for success. They are my inspiration, and I will fight to my last heart beat for them.”

The other seven 2019 Virginia Regional Teachers of the Year — who were also honored during the ceremony — are as follows:

  • Stephen J. Legawiec, a Virginia and U.S. History and Advanced Placement U.S. History teacher at Lafayette High in Williamsburg-James City County (Region 2)
  • Daniel N. Reichard, a fifth-grade teacher at Kate Waller Barrett Elementary in Stafford County (Region 3)
  • Timothy W. Cotman Jr., an equity and excellence coordinator and English teacher at Thomas Jefferson Middle in Arlington County (Region 4)
  • Christine M. Grim, a first-grade language arts and mathematics teacher at Fulks Run Elementary in Rockingham County (Region 5)
  • Jamie F. Nichols, a sixth-grade mathematics and science teacher at Lucy Addison Middle in Roanoke (Region 6)
  • Charlcia D. Burke Jones, a library media specialist at Jonesville Middle in Lee County (Region 7)
  • Ashley N. Blackwell, a first-grade teacher at Cumberland Elementary in Cumberland County (Region 8)

As the 2019 Virginia Teacher of the Year, Robinson received a $5,000 award and a commemorative ring from the Apple Federal Credit Union Foundation; a $2,500 award from Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen law firm; a $1,000 award from Dominion Energy Services Inc.; a membership to VMFA; educational opportunities from several public and private colleges and universities; a gift from SMART Technologies ULC; tickets to Kings Dominion; flowers from Coleman Brothers Flowers Inc.; an engraved plaque from Bunkie Trinite Trophies Inc.; a gift basket from C.F. Sauer Co.; overnight accommodations at the  Delta Hotels by Marriott Richmond Downtown; a gift card from Kroger; and an engraved crystal apple. Other sponsors include the Virginia Lottery, Kings Dominion, Virginia School Boards Association, Wells Fargo Bank NA, Association of Teacher Educators, Capital Interior Contractors Inc., EF Education First, Moseley Architects, Bicouvaris-Stamatakos Family, Virginia Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Virginia School Boards Association and the Virginia Education Association. Regional Teachers of the Year also received gifts from corporate sponsors.

The 2019 National Teacher of the Year will be announced next spring at a White House ceremony. Two previous Virginia teachers — B. Philip Bigler, the 1998 Virginia Teacher of the Year, and Mary V. Bicouvaris, the 1989 Virginia Teacher of the Year — went on to be named National Teachers of the Year.

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