WASHINGTON (WRIC) — Rodney Robinson, a social studies teacher at the Virgie Binford Educational Center, was honored with the 2019 National Teacher of the Year at the White House on Monday.
Education Secretary Betsy Devos presented the award to Robinson on behalf of the president — who traditionally hands out the honor — after reports last week said President Donald Trump would skip the ceremony.
Trump had given out the award in 2017 and 2018.
Despite President Trump’s absence from the ceremony, he did meet with Robinson during a surprise visit in the oval office to compliment him on the award and thank him for his hard work.
Robinson confirmed he met with President Trump in an email to 8News:
“Myself and the other state teachers of the year got a chance to have conversations with President Trump, Vice president Pence and Secretary DeVos,” Robinson wrote. “It was very respectful and professional. President Trump complimented me on the award and thanked me for the hard work I was doing.”
While the press was not allowed to attend the ceremony, Devos posted a picture with Robinson and Pence on Twitter.