FONTANA, CA-Throughout her 22 years as a dance teacher at A.B. Miller High School, Nicole Robinson has inspired her students to develop a passion for dance while providing them with guidance, encouragement and individual confidence to challenge themselves at each level of their education.
While at A.B. Miller, Robinson introduced the Conservatory of Dance for students who have little training in the performing arts. Its popularity prompted Robinson to develop a Districtwide dance and arts education curriculum, called the Dance Collaborative, that promotes life skills, collaboration, and positive self-expression through the arts.
It is because of her students – past and present – who say she has helped transform their lives and inspire educational excellence at Fontana Unified that Robinson has been named a Carlston Family Foundation 2017 Teacher of the Year, a recognition that comes with a $20,000 grant.
“From my conversations with Nicole’s former students, it was exceptionally clear that her instructional skills and techniques, as well as her personal guidance, significantly contributed to both their academic and personal success,” Carlston Family Foundation CEO Tim Allen said. “They commented on the incredible passion and energy she has for teaching dance. The day I spent in her classroom, I confirmed what they experienced and much more.”
Each year, the Carlston Family Foundation honors five California teachers for their exceptional work in the classroom. The nominations are submitted by former students, who touted Robinson’s effectiveness, creativity and ability to educate and improve the education of her students at A.B. Miller High and throughout the District.
“As a teacher, my priority is to put students first and ensure they have a rich experience. I want to open the door to opportunity for all students to explore dance and the arts, to find a platform for their creativity, and encourage them to incorporate this knowledge throughout the school day and in their daily lives,” Robinson said. “I want to thank the foundation for recognizing the potential for dance to transform lives.”
Robinson will be honored at the 15th Annual CFF Awards Ceremony on Nov. 11 in Mill Valley. The award will be presented by the former A.B. Miller student who nominated her and whose identity will be kept secret until the ceremony.
“Nicole is graciously demanding, loyal, patient, willing, confident, humorous, rigorous, and tremendously knowledgeable in her subject matter,” the former student said. “She has this special gift where she is able to sense when something is not right with her students and is always willing to go the extra mile in order to unravel the barrier that is not allowing her students to academically and artistically advance.”
Robinson will receive a monetary award of $20,000 – $15,000 for her personal use and $5,000 as a grant for A.B. Miller High. Robinson will also join the Foundation’s Board of Advisors. Allen will make a formal presentation of the award to the FUSD Board of Education on December 13.
“Nicole Robinson is a natural leader whose commitment and dedication to her students is rivaled only by the innovation and inspiration she brings to the District,” FUSD Superintendent Randal S. Bassett said. “We are greatly appreciative of Nicole’s unique ability to connect with each student, from new kindergarteners to departing seniors and utilize dance and art to enrich their lives. She is truly deserving of this prestigious recognition.”