A metro Atlanta nonprofit dedicated to highlighting the best educators in the Atlanta Public Schools on Tuesday awarded $7,500 to Robin Robbins, principal of Burgess-Peterson Academy.
One of 10 district teachers and principals awarded, Robbins, who has been in education for 14 years, will use the grant toward an outdoor classroom as part of the school's outdoor garden that was visited by in February.
The idea to highlight the work of outstanding educators was born of a desire to give back to Atlanta, said Katie McDowell, who co-founded Atlanta Families Awards for Excellence in Education in 2006 with her father, Edward G. Michaels.
An avid believer in public school education, her dad, a retired McKinsey & Co. consultant, believed focusing on APS was the best way to show their appreciation to the city.
"Every child deserves a quality education, McDowell said. Robbins was selected from some 70 educators nominated because she shows a commitment to her kids, McDowell said.
Another factor that impressed AFAEE is Robbins' development and use of her own data system to track her students' progress and assess their needs in areas where they fall short, McDowell said.
The group, which includes 20 families that contribute to the awards each year has given APS educators more than $500,000 since its inception.
That APS was rocked by a cheating scandal and the threat of losing accreditation this year did not hinder AFAEE's mission, McDowell said.
"Quite the opposite," she said. "We thought this was the time to double down on the kids. We did not lose any partners."
Indeed, the group also is making a financial donation toward APS' academic support program designed to give help to students who are performing below standards.
AFAEE also has created a "winners' circle" this year which will serve as a sounding board of best practices that other teachers and principals can use in their schools, said Prescott Miller, AFAEE's chairman.
"We want to shine a light on all the wonderful things that are happening," Miller said.
Other educators in East Atlanta Patch who were recognized included:
- Brian Mitchell, principal of Mary Lin Elementary
- Alicia Pagan, first grade teacher at