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Richmond-area’s Teacher of the Year works at juvenile detention center

RICHMOND, Va. -- There are students in Richmond who are learning about history to escape their past.

They attend the Virgie Binford Educational Center housed inside Richmond’s Juvenile Detention Center.

Principal Ta'Neshia Ford knew that to reach these vulnerable students she would have to recruit good teachers.

"One of my favorite quotes of the kids, they say, 'I wish I could go to school here all the time.  I just don't want to stay here’,” Ford said.

She’s very glad that she recruited Rodney Robinson.

"One of the advantages we have here," Robinson said,  “is that for the first time, a lot of students are able to focus on education without dealing with the distractions of their life."

Robinson isn't just a good teacher; he's one of the best.

The Virginia Department of Education named him the Region 1 Teacher of the Year. He joined seven other teachers nominated for the statewide honor.

From there, it's a national contest.

"I don't think of myself as a teacher," Robinson said. "I'm a facilitator.  The students want to learn.  My job is to direct them toward the learning.  So therefore, this isn't an honor for me, it's an honor for them. "

"To have a novice teacher or a teacher that doesn't have that passion, won't do them any good," Ford added. "I wanted to find the best the district had to offer, so him being nominated, proves that I'm right."

Building Better Minds with Rob Cardwell airs every Wednesday at 6 a.m.