Robin Christian, principal of Barack and Michelle Obama Academy, has been selected as the 2019 Joe Richardson Award Recipient by The Principals Center at Georgia State University. Christian will receive the honor during GSU’s Annual New Principals Celebration, to be held Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Center, near downtown Atlanta.
The Joe Richardson Award for Exemplary Leadership is named in honor of the founder of the Principals Center at Georgia State University, Dr. Joe Richardson, who was inspired by Dr. Roland Barth, formerly of Harvard and the founder of the Principals Center movement. This award is given annually by the Principals Center. The principal nominated for this award is an educational leader who is considered highly competent and successful within the school district and among his/her professional peers. The Award is given to a principal who most represents the mix of leadership attributes that provides for a school environment where both students and staff excel and who exemplifies the characteristics of an instructional leader within a community of learners and leaders.
Christian is a native of metropolitan Atlanta, a proud product of the public school system, and an alumna of Spelman College. Upon graduation from Spelman, she immediately began her career with Atlanta Public Schools where she has served for almost 22 years as a teacher at Bethune Elementary, Instructional Liaison Specialist at Mary Lin Elementary, and Principal of Burgess Peterson Academy. Currently, she serves the Peoplestown community of Atlanta as a turn-around principal at Barack and Michelle Obama Academy, where she is committed to the total development of children while supporting and coaching teachers to ensure their development as teacher leaders.
Over the years, Christian has been a part of several leadership development programs including SABLE, which aimed to develop the leadership potential of aspiring principals. She serves as a Principal Mentor to first year principals in Atlanta Public Schools’ Principal Mentor Program and is proud to have had several faculty members complete the yearlong district Aspiring Assistant Principal Program. She is appreciative that she is able to provide input on various school and district related issues as a member of the Superintendent’s Principal Advisory Council. Additionally, she is honored to be representing Atlanta Public Schools as the first cohort of principals participating in the prestigious 2018 Cahn Fellows Program for Distinguished Principals at Teachers College, Columbia University. Christian is a 2011 Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education recipient, a 2018 Atlanta Magazine’s Women Making a Mark honoree, and is the recent recipient of the 2019 Ethel Mae Mathews Courage and Character Award from Emmaus House Atlanta.
Her two most memorable events continue to be: 1.) hosting former First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit during her tenure as principal of Burgess Peterson Academy and 2.) when the school where she presently serves was renamed to honor both President and Mrs. Obama. Christian truly loves working with school communities and partners to make a difference for all children. She is very passionate about being a voice for the underserved and does not believe in having low expectations for children based on zip code or socioeconomic status. She works tirelessly to build partnerships that will provide resources for her students and their families.
In her spare time, Christian enjoys spending time with her husband, Neal Christian, and her children, Kennedy Robbins, age 17, Kenneth Robbins, Jr. age 14, London Christian, age 10, and her godson, Caden, age 5. She is a proud member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and is extremely active in her church and community. Her favorite quote is, “I am not anxious to be the loudest voice or the most popular, but I would like to think that at a critical moment, I was an effective voice of the voiceless, an effective hope of the hopeless” (Whitney Young). Robin Christian strives daily to put this quote into action as she serves her school and community.