Robin Cruz, special education teacher at Burlington High School, is retiring after 38 years of educating students in several states. She started her career teaching students in the Bronx, New York. She also taught in Boynton Beach, Florida before coming to Vermont. Robin taught students at Hunt Middle School for 14 years before moving to Burlington High School where she has spent the last 5 years. In addition to her many years of working in special education, Robin has also been a classroom teacher. Robin’s ability to take on new challenges helped her meet the needs of students of all ages. She has taught students from Head Start to high school. While her wide variety of teaching experiences have taught her much, Robin understands that each new student brings new challenges and has unique needs and she has taken on the challenges with every year and every student.
. . . always use love and humor as your tools to connect with studentsRobin Cruz
Words from Robin:
What I will miss: I will especially miss my colleagues at Hunt and BHS and all the special times we shared. Especially all the laughs we had.
What I am proudest of: The greatest gifts are in seeing my students become successful members of the community and the knowledge that I have made a difference in the world..
Advice to pass on: Remember why you became a teacher and always use love and humor as your tools to connect with students.
Future Plans: Through the University of Vermont Asian Studies program for teachers, I was lucky enough to travel to Thailand and China. I hope to travel to Europe some time in the future, maybe Portugal. And then, I’m open to new adventures. I would also love to go cross country in my little camper and visit the National Parks especially the Redwood Forest. I also plan to do some sculpture and painting.
Words from Colleagues:
While there are several fond and funny memories in my years working with Robin “Cruzer” Cruz, my favorite memories are from when Robin and I collaborated on a small life skills cooking group with two of our shared students. In this group, Robin’s energy and zest in the kitchen allowed these students to build the confidence to further their culinary studies to the BTC Culinary Arts Program. This highlights Robin’s character as she knew when to support and challenge her students while also making the concepts fun enough to the point where these students wanted to pursue these skills further. Robin, thank you for being such a joy to collaborate with professionally. I also want to thank you for being so supportive on the days that felt hard. Good luck in your well deserved retirement. We entered our journey together as colleagues we get to leave as friends and for that I am most grateful! Emma Nelson
Robin Cruz is an educator with an open heart and mind. She spoke with powerful honesty and her humor and wit were always quick to make a group cry tears of laughter. She loved her students as if they were her family, and took care of them in the same vein. Her presence is already sorely missed at BHS. Hannah Morrison
I haven’t been at the high school for very long, but Robin immediately made me feel welcome. She never made me feel like I was bothering her with questions, which were often plentiful. Whenever I was getting stressed, I could count on her calming presence to make me feel confident. Robin and I share a past life in New York and a common love for good food and cooking. Since moving to a new state alone, Robin often provided me of the comforts of home. For which I am eternally grateful. Robin clearly has a passion for education which I believe stems from her love of people and community. She truly loves contributing to our world and making it a better place. I have faith that Robin will still be positively impacting the lives of others even in this new chapter of life. Meg Willis
I can always count on Robin to share a laugh. She’s the type of person who makes people feel comfortable – like they’ve known her forever. She is always excited about trying new things, and her enthusiasm inspires others to do the same. Robin cares about people and is passionate about art and wellness. By incorporating mindfulness and promoting creativity in her classroom, Robin has helped students focus on the present – encouraging them to explore and cultivate their strengths. Robin’s independence and confidence has a way of rubbing off on others and her spunk will be missed at BHS. Undoubtedly, there are many great adventures to come in her future! Kate Healy
Robin is a genuine person who deeply cared about her students and colleagues. She was a strong advocate for her students while also showing compassion to adversities they faced. As a colleague she supported those around her and we could always rely on her for a story at lunch that would result in deep laughter. Her kindness and open heart was evident in her work on a daily basis. Kerry Bechtloff