Transcend Board Member
Vice President for Education, Advanced Studies in Culture Foundation

Gerard Robinson

Gerard Robinson is a Professor of Practice in Public Policy and Law at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia, and has a joint appointment at the UVA Law School. Robinson has often advanced ideas in the public marketplace, having coedited Education for Liberation: The Politics of Promise and Reform Inside and Beyond America’s Prisons (2019) and Education Savings Accounts: The New Frontier in School Choice (2017). He also cohosts The Learning Curve podcast. Robinson is regularly published or quoted in AEI Ideas, Gallup News, Newsweek, the Hill, the New York Times, the Washington Examiner, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and US News & World Report

From 2017 to 2020, prior to working at the Foundation, Robinson was Executive Director of the Center for Advancing Opportunity (CAO). CAO is a Washington, DC-based research and education initiative created by a partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Charles Koch Foundation, and Koch Industries. 

Robinson served as Commissioner of Education for the State of Florida from 2011 to 2012, where he managed several divisions with 3,000 employees. In addition to supporting the education initiatives of Governor Rick Scott, Robinson assisted in the development of a $16 billion education budget, instituted for the first time in a decade new achievement level scores for grades 3-10 in reading and grades 3-8 in mathematics, chaired a task force to improve opportunities for English learners and students with special needs, adopted new competency and skill standards for STEM teacher certification, developed new pre- and post-assessment measures for the voluntary Pre-K program, approved several new degree programs for Florida’s colleges, managed several federal-funded programs, and partnered with the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Council of 100 to strengthen career and college readiness.

Prior to Florida, Robinson served as Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In addition to supporting the education initiatives of Governor Bob McDonnell, he provided guidance to 16 public universities, the community college system, five higher education and research centers, the department of education, and state-supported museums. Robinson managed the governor’s Opportunity to Learn agenda in 2010, which produced new laws for traditional public schools, virtual education, charter schools, and college laboratory schools. He directed the Top Jobs for the 21st Century agenda in 2011, which produced the Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011 that invested an additional $100 million to support the conferral of 100,000 additional degrees by 2025.

Before working in Virginia, Robinson was a director and President of the Black Alliance for Educational Options and a legislative aide in the California and Virginia legislatures and the District of Columbia Public Schools. He served as a Senior Fellow at the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University and at the Institute for Education Policy at the City University of New York; he is also a Pahara-Aspen Fellow. Robinson earned an Ed.M. from Harvard, a B.A. from Howard, and an A.A. from El Camino Community College. He is married and has three daughters.


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