A Proven Fighter For Houston Schools
Dr. Robert Lundin has devoted nearly two decades to making a difference in the lives of students and families both across Houston and beyond.
Born and raised in Northern California, Robert first arrived in Houston in the summer of 1996 to begin his college studies at Rice University. There he cultivated his passion for issues of social justice through in-depth studies of public policy. He also led the university’s speech and debate program, himself ranking as a national debate champion.
In recognition of his contributions and leadership, Robert was awarded the university's highest distinction as Rice University’s Outstanding Senior Award recipient. He graduated with honors in the spring of 2000 with dual degrees in political science and policy studies.
Following his graduation, Robert chose to stay in Houston to begin what would become his life-long mission as an educator. He joined Team H.I.S.D. in 2000, teaching bilingual 5th grade at Garcia Elementary School. He quickly realized he had found his calling, and was recognized by the district for excellence in his classroom. He proceeded to teach on both the middle and high school levels across the Houston area, producing exceptional levels of achievement for his students.
BASED ON HIS RECORD OF CLASSROOM SUCCESS,
Robert was asked to undertake a daunting goal: establish a college preparatory school from scratch that would be dedicated to serving students from Houston’s low-income communities. In close partnership with students, families, and community members, Robert proudly opened the doors of YES College Preparatory School – Southwest in 2004. In the years that followed, YES Prep – Southwest would welcome more than one thousand Houston-area students and guide them to the four-year college or university of their choice. The campus would ultimately be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School, and would be rated by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 25 high schools in the nation.
Pictured: Robert formally dedicating YES Prep – Southwest with his students by his side.
These results were noticed well beyond Houston’s city limits, and Robert was approached by educational leaders from the United Kingdom seeking to improve teacher outcomes in the country’s poorest communities. Armed with the lessons learned in Houston, Robert “crossed the pond” and became a founding director of Teach First. There he would establish a thriving non-profit organization that would recruit, select, train, and support more than 160 teachers serving in 60 low-income schools.
But ultimately, British “bangers and mash” just couldn’t compete with Texas barbeque, and so Robert returned to his true home of Houston. He became a professor of education at the University of Saint Thomas, where he trained dozens of aspiring principals to lead in Houston schools. He also returned to his alma mater Rice University, but this time as a faculty member teaching undergraduate and graduate classes focusing on Houston education issues.
Yet Robert’s greatest contribution to Houston schools would occur as a senior leader in the Houston Independent School District.
As School Support Officer, Robert was charged with oversight and support of 39 elementary and secondary campuses in every part of our city. Those schools ranged in focus from dual language to fine arts, early childhood, STEM (science, technology, engineering, & math), environmental science, vanguard, International Baccalaureate, and Montessori education.
He successfully led six campuses out of “Improvement Required” status within one year, with all subsequently continuing at or above standard. At the same time, he guided multiple schools to earn state and national distinctions for outstanding levels of student achievement.
He played a hands-on role in the rebuilding or renovation of multiple campus facilities across the city, and worked extensively with teachers, principals, parents, students, and community members both to set ambitious goals for their schools and bring them to fruition.
Pictured: After successfully guiding their school out of “Improvement Required” status, Robert joined Interim Superintendent Ken Huewitt, Chief Academic Officer Grenita Lathan, and North Area Director Silvia Trinh to celebrate their achievement with Burrus Elementary Principal Jessie Woods and Assistant Principal Kyle Mackey.
Robert awarding bikes to Valley West Elementary students for dedication to reading, accompanied by Principal Brian Vannest, Assistant Principals Paul Lister & Justin Jones, and Chief Jorge Arredondo
Robert visiting with Vonia Jones, teacher at Ashford Elementary School
Robert officially breaks ground on a new HISD campus
Robert attending TFA Summit 2016
Inspired by his experiences supporting campuses across District VI, Robert believes that our schools and communities deserve to have an advocate on the district-level that uniquely understands how to affect positive change on behalf of kids. The students and families of District VI deserve nothing less than a champion representing them on the board.
In addition to his undergraduate degree from Rice University, Robert holds a master’s degree in bilingual and ESL education from the University of Saint Thomas and a doctorate in educational leadership from Vanderbilt University. He is the proud godfather of Nicholas (age 13) and Lawson (age 1), and is a doting uncle to two amazing nephews.