Teaching Fellow Spotlight: Kennedy Robbins

Kennedy Robbins is preparing to graduate from Spelman University this May with a degree in Elementary Education, but she has already made a big impact in the lives of many young students.

Currently a student teacher at an elementary school in Fulton County, Kennedy was a Breakthrough Atlanta Teaching Fellow last summer and will return as a Teaching Fellow this summer in a leadership position. She’s also the founder of Kennedy’s Stars, a youth program that provides young, underserved girls a chance to experience the sport of cheerleading while building self-confidence and healthy lifestyles, and she created Rooted for Love, a service project that provides donations to Atlanta-area families and children in need during the holidays.

“My aspiration is not only to be an educator, but also to be a change agent for the youth.”

But Kennedy didn’t start off pursuing a career in education. With two parents who are educators in the Atlanta Public School system, she initially resisted a similar path. Instead, her goal was to become a pediatrician.

 “I always knew I wanted to work with youth, but I felt like I was running away from my passion. I went to my first biology class, and I was like, ‘No, this is not what I want.’”

It didn’t take Kennedy long to embrace her calling, and now she is pursuing it with impressive determination. After she graduates and finishes Breakthrough’s teaching fellowship this summer, Kennedy will start a Master of Education program in Educational Leadership, Organizations, and Entrepreneurship from Harvard Graduate School Of Education. 

“I want to go into education equity. I believe every child deserves a high-quality education. I believe every child should have access to the same resources.”

Her pursuit of education equity attracted Kennedy to Breakthrough Atlanta’s teaching fellowship opportunity.

“You have all these wonderful, bright students who lack access to what other students have and Breakthrough is making sure they are getting an equitable education. That’s why I love Breakthrough.”

Kennedy says her Breakthrough experience has been invaluable in helping her grow her skills as a future educator. After last year’s program, she says she feels more prepared and confident as a teacher, and this summer she will return as the math curriculum teaching fellow team lead.

“I saw myself grow from the beginning to the end of the summer. I have learned what I should do and should not do as an educator—professionally, academically and emotionally.” 

Kennedy says a key benefit of Breakthrough’s program is how much it serves students and teaching fellows alike, and the meaningful relationships Breakthrough cultivates.

 “I love that the students are getting a lot out of this program, but that we are too. Breakthrough does a great job of making sure we are actually building connections. It’s a family feel.” 

Kennedy’s ultimate dream is to one day start an equity-focused academy in an urban area for kindergarten through fifth grade.

“In an urban area, resources aren’t as balanced for each student. I want to make sure at my school that every student is getting what they need.”

As she reflects on her future, Kennedy says she has a lot to look forward to. 

“I’m excited about graduation. I’m excited about Breakthrough Atlanta this summer. I’m excited for grad school, and I’m excited to see where I end up.”

Wherever she ends up, Kennedy will no doubt leave an inspirational mark. She already has.