Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: April 24, 2019
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alenaa Yarmosky, | Virginia Department of Education: Charles Pyle,, (804) 371-2420

Governor Northam Congratulates 2019 National Teacher of the Year Rodney Robinson

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today congratulated Richmond history teacher Rodney A. Robinson on his selection as the 2019 National Teacher of the Year. The choice of Robinson as the nation’s top teacher was announced earlier today on CBS This Morning.

“Rodney is a remarkable teacher and mentor to his students—Virginia is proud to see him receive this well-deserved recognition as National Teacher of the Year,” said Governor Northam. “He personifies the Commonwealth’s commitment to making sure that every student, no matter who they are or where they live, has access to the educational services and supports necessary to succeed in school and in life.”

Robinson is a 19-year veteran of Richmond Public Schools and has been a history teacher at the Virgie Binford Education Center since 2015. The school is located within the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center and is one of 24 state-operated programs providing educational services to students in juvenile detention facilities.

“I can think of no better ambassador for teachers in Virginia and teachers nationwide,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “Rodney is a passionate advocate for his students and for the power of public education to change lives and elevate communities.”

“Mr. Robinson’s dedication to ensuring that all students have the opportunity to maximize their potential shines through in everything he does, each and every day,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane. “As a member of both a school division team and the instructional staff of a state-operated program, Rodney’s commitment to excellence and the social-emotional learning of his students has made a tremendous difference in the lives of Virginia students.”

Robinson was named the 2019 Virginia Teacher of the Year last October and in January, Governor Northam announced that Robinson was selected as one of four finalists for 2019 National Teacher of the Year. He is the third Virginia teacher to serve as National Teacher of the Year—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.

The National Teacher of the Year Program is managed by the Council of Chief State School Officers. Each year, the nation’s top teacher is selected from among state teachers of the year representing the 50 states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories and the Department of Defense Education Activity. During the year of recognition, the National Teacher of the Year has the opportunity to travel around the country serving as an ambassador for education and an advocate for teachers and students.

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