Teacher, urban educator, researcher, and innovator in education

Dr. Robert W. Simmons

Dr. Robert W. Simmons III is the director of the Center for Innovation in Urban Education at Loyola University Maryland, an associate professor of urban education in the School of Education, and an associated faculty member in the African and African American Studies program. Additionally, Robert is a member of the nationally recognized social justice collaborative Edchange. Edchange is a coalition of educators and activists providing professional development on educational equity and modeling a commitment to moving beyond celebrating the joys of diversity and toward educational equity in schools and communities. A former middle school science teacher in the Detroit Public Schools, his teaching & administrative career in Detroit, Minnesota, & the Dominican Republic, included being nominated twice as the Walt Disney National Teacher of the Year and once for the Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Foundation Outstanding Educator Award. As a servant leader in the community, Robert has been part of a team of educators who started a STEM focused middle school for boys, a board member at one of the few public Montessori schools in an urban community, and the founder of a mentoring program for African American boys in Minnesota. Robert has been a fellow with the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation where he conducted environmental research in the rainforest of Costa Rica, and participated in the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund. The author of numerous journal articles, book chapters, articles in the Village Celebration, and a co-edited book, Talking About Race: Alleviating the Fear (Stylus Publishing, 2013), his research focuses on the experiences of African American boys in public and Catholic schools, science education in urban schools, African American male teachers, urban education, and the role of race in understanding the social context of schooling.


The author and evaluator of over $1.5 million in grants, including serving as a co-PI on an NIH funded project designed to support the development of virtual science labs for K-12 students and teachers, Robert has delivered workshops and lectures throughout the United States and Europe on his research. Robert is a renowned motivational speaker who openly shares his life experiences in Detroit during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic, the mental incarceration he experienced for much of his life due to the physical incarceration of his father, and the significant challenges he faced leaving his childhood home in a neighborhood where drugs and drug dealers were the norm to being one of the few African American students at an elite Jesuit high school.

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