SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — All teachers are winners but one in particular at Wanda Gray Elementary went above and beyond.

Robin Davidson is a fourth-grade teacher who was named Teacher of the Year for Springfield Public Schools. He’s been with SPS since January 1999 and started at Reed Academy before spending 14 years at Westport Elementary. Davidson is grateful for the honor and says the key to a successful class is to have a solid team.

“I’ll tell you what I think the secret is, it is quickly establishing your team. When I get to class and the first thing I do is like we call it the three P’s, the first thing that we do is we give them a place. It’s a place of belonging. When I say belonging, that means that they have a place where they’re safe, where I can accept them as the arbiter received them as we are, but that belonging and stop there. There’s always that idea of belonging with expectation. So that’s the first step. “

Davidson cares a great deal when it comes to his students. He always wants to set them up for success with some tough love upfront.

“The first thing I tell them is, I believe in you. And therefore I’m going to expect from you and I expect you to give your best to rise up and do what you need to do. And I know that you can do it. What I need to see, and I need to see you kick in, push and get that self-control that self-government and come in and it’s really where we are. We start with high expectations. I hit them with that first thing. They understand that’s where we’re going with this. They understand alone. I tell the class on a regular basis “I love you” and that’s why I expect you because I want you to be the best that you can be,” Robinson said.

Davidson was among several teachers who were part of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s regional competition.