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College of Education Trailblazer Series: Dr. Sharon Porter Robinson

photo of Sharon Porter RobinsonDr. Sharon Porter Robinson began her career as a classroom teacher in Fayette County and has served in a variety of national and state leadership roles in education. She was the first Black woman to serve as president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. In 1993, appointed by President Bill Clinton, she became the first Black assistant secretary of education with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Research and Improvement.

Currently, Dr. Robinson serves on the Kentucky Board of Education. Her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor of education degrees were all earned at the University of Kentucky. She was inducted into the UK College of Education Alumni Hall of Fame in 1991 and the UK Alumni Association Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2010.

It took bravery and sacrifice for students to take the lead as “firsts” after the university’s desegregation in 1949. Many of those forging a path walked inside the doors of the UK College of Education. In the decades since, our alumni have continued to play pivotal roles in our nation’s history, marked with both struggle and progress, and advance the education, health, and human service fields. We are celebrating our college’s trailblazing alumni by sharing some of their stories during #BlackHistoryMonth.

In 2020, the UK College of Education launched a groundbreaking collaboration with the NAACP, the nation’s largest and most preeminent civil rights organization. The college’s Education and Civil Rights Initiative in collaboration with the NAACP is housed in the college’s Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation. The initiative provides research and analysis to help advance educational equity.