GLSEN Honors Tray Robinson with 2020 Educator of the Year Award
We know that it’s been a particularly challenging time for educators who are adjusting to online school and virtual classrooms – and our current reality underlines new significance for Teacher Appreciation Week, which wraps up tomorrow, May 8. We’re so grateful for all of the educators looking out for LGBTQ young people, going above and beyond to connect and support their students.
Today, we’re thrilled to announce the winner of GLSEN’s 2020 Educator of the Year Award! Every year, we take nominations to hear the stories that moved GLSEN supporters, and folks really stepped up with powerful nominations that honor the LGBTQ-supportive adults making a real difference for young people in our schools.
This year’s Educator of the Year is Tray Robinson (he/him/his) from San Jose, California!
Tray specializes in teaching students with severe emotional disturbances in a therapeutically enriched classroom setting. He has advised two GSAs at the high school level and has attended the CTA LGBTQ Conference.
“I started working in education when I was 18. Education for me is more than reading, and writing, more than memorizing dates and equations. Teaching and mentoring are helping to nourish the personal soul and identity of each young person that you can,” Tray said. The Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Center helped me pay for college, and now, after having obtained a Master’s as well, I realize I am uniquely poised to be more than just an out and proud example, I can help teach them how to live in a society that doesn’t always acknowledge them.”
The student who nominated Tray for the 2020 Educator of the Year Award wrote, “Mr. Robinson was the teacher for the special education class in high school I was a part of, working specifically with students with emotional difficulties or mental illnesses. In his role, not only did he work individually with students to create personalized educational goals, he also went beyond his duties as a teacher to advocate for me in front of school administrators to make sure my needs as a trans disabled student of color were being met. Mr. Robinson has consistently made his classroom a safe space for LGBTQ+ students by advocating for those under his care and opening his room to queer students at lunch.”
Thank you, Tray Robinson – and all of the educators on our 2020 Educator of the Year Honor Roll – for exhibiting so much love, strength, and leadership. Your work helps to shine a light on what’s possible when we come together to build inclusive school communities.