Gerard Robinson

Gerard Robinson

Professor of Practice in Public Policy and Law

Education & Training
EdM, Harvard University
BA, Howard University

As of fall 2023, Gerard Robinson is a professor of practice in public policy and law at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the School of Law at the University of Virginia. As a Fellow of Practice at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, Robinson has written about K-12 and higher education, public policy, economic mobility, after-school programs, and race. Examples include his coedited books 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), and research reports funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. He also cohosted The Learning Curve podcast, in which he and Dr. Cara Candal discussed educational topics with scholars, practitioners, entrepreneurs, and 13 Pulitzer Prize winners. 

From 2017 to 2020, Robinson was Executive Director of the Center for Advancing Opportunity (CAO), a Washington, D.C.-based research and education initiative created by a partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Charles Koch Foundation, and Koch Industries. In that role, he oversaw an $11 million investment into evidence-based solutions to the most pressing education, entrepreneurship, and criminal justice issues throughout the United States by working with faculty and students at HBCUs and other postsecondary institutions. 

From 2011 to 2012, Robinson served as Commissioner of Education for Florida. Prior to that, he served as Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In addition to supporting the education initiatives of Virginia 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. 

Between 2005 and 2010, Robinson was a program director and later the president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, which was a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization that supported federal and state parental choice policies empowering low-income and working-class black families.