Robin Simmons, a seventh-grade English language arts teacher at Milbank Middle School, was selected as the 2019-2020 Outstanding Middle-Level Educator in South Dakota by the South Dakota Association of Middle-Level Educators (SDAMLE). The state association is part of the national Association of Middle-Level Educators (AMLE) group. The award serves to recognize and honor the tremendous contributions of outstanding middle-level educators.
Simmons said, “I was shocked and humbled because I have so many things I need to work on as an educator. I thought the email was spam when I first got it! Any success I’ve had as a teacher is a testament to the phenomenal educators I’ve been blessed to work with all across the country over the last 15 years.”
Principal Kris Evje, who nominated Simmons, said, “The year before she assumed her position, our seventh-grade students achieved behind the state average in proficiency on our state assessments. Since she joined our team, we have completely flipped this. They now score significantly above state averages across all areas assessed…But the real example is all of the readers she has helped to create and build. To see her former students carrying books and reading is all the proof you need.”
“My number one teachers are my students that I’ve had in class,” Robin said. “They’ve taught me more than they know! Their honesty, creativity, humor, and wit is a joy to be around every day. The COVID-19 crisis has confirmed that for me!”
Simmons is originally from Saginaw, Michigan. She received her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary social science with a minor in English in 2004 and a masters degree in curriculum and teaching in 2006 from Michigan State University. In 2012, she earned national board certification in early adolescence language arts. She taught English language arts and social studies in Virginia, high school English in Oklahoma, and eighth-grade English language arts in Kentucky before joining the Milbank School District in 2016.
In her spare time, she enjoys running, reading middle grade and young adult literature, and spending time with her family. Her husband, Scott, is employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The couple has two children – Tanner (8) and Leah (5).