Nicole Robinson, a dance and physical education teacher at Fontana A.B. Miller High School, has been named Teacher of the Year by the California League of High Schools (CLHS) Region 10.
“Mrs. Robinson’s impeccable work ethic and can-do attitude have resulted in one of the best dance program in the state and the only Dance Conservatory in a public school in the state," said Moises Merlos, the Miller principal. "She is a natural leader who continues to advocate for the arts and to provide arts education access to minority, low socio-economic, and inner city students. The recognition is well deserved.”
Robinson has a Bachelor’s Degree in physical education with emphasis in dance from Cal State San Bernardino and a Master of Arts degree in dance education from Cal State Long Beach.
She is a teacher leader for the California Arts Project, providing arts based professional development for teachers in California. This winter, she traveled to Sacramento to work with a team of teachers to align the National Core Arts Standards with the California Visual and Performing Arts standards.
She began as a physical education teacher at Miller in 1995.
“My journey to this position was one of many interesting twists and turns,” Robinson said. “When I graduated from college, I had no intention of becoming a dance teacher. After my first year, I was convinced teaching would be a temporary gig. ‘Temporary’ became a passion and calling.”
She said students generally arrive at Miller with very little training in visual and performing arts.
“As a result, the dance program offers many students their first exposure to dance," she said. "Many of these students come to the dance program not because of their love of dance but because of the creature comforts of the dance class: no running, the class meets indoors and of course, music. Within the first week, students realize the course is much more challenging and rewarding than a regular physical education course.”
Under her direction, Miller opened its Conservatory of Dance program for students in 2009. The program is designed to help develop dancers who have an interest, passion and potential for trainable growth in dance.
The Career Technical Education Performing Arts Pathway under the Art, Media and Entertainment sector is innovative in its approach to exposing students to the arts through dance and mastering skills to be used in a performing arts career.
The 10 finalists for the Teacher of the Year award were recognized at the annual CLSH Region 10 (San Bernardino, Riverside, Inyo, and Mono Counties) banquet on Jan. 21. Another FUSD teacher, Robert Gutierrez, a math instructor at Jurupa Hills High School, was also a finalist.
Robinson will represent Region 10 and be honored at the CLHS Annual Conference Feb. 27-March 1 in Sacramento. At that time, one of the 11 regional nominees will be announced as CLHS High School Educator of the Year.