Notice: Trying to get property 'ID' of non-object in /www/frontlinesofjustice_928/public/wp-content/themes/buddyboss-theme-child/learndash/ld30/topic.php on line 88
In Progress
Lesson 1, Topic 62
In Progress

Signature Story


Executive Director, Black Educators Initiative, Urban Teachers


  • Executive Director | Black Educators Initiative, Urban Teachers
  • Professor, Social Justice and Urban Education | American University

When he was 16 years old, Dr. Robert Simmons III had the dream to become a teacher and was heavily influenced by his Mother’s history of attending Spelman College, where she had very impactful Black educators. He started his professional education journey as an elementary school science teacher in Detroit, where he was born and raised. Now, he is the Executive Director of the Black Educators Initiative at Urban Teachers.

With over 20 years experience, Dr. Simmons was founding director of the Center for Innovation in Urban Education and the Institute for Urban Catholic Education at Loyola University of Maryland. He served as an associate professor of urban education and science education, while also taking on the role of a research associate at the Baltimore Education Research Consortium at Johns Hopkins University. Simmons served as the Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at the Campaign for Black Male Achievement and as the Chief of Innovation & Research with the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS); while at DCPS, Simmons was the chief architect of the Empowering Males of Color initiative. He took the position at Urban Teachers in February 2020, after serving as Chief Executive Officer of the See Forever Foundation and the Maya Angelou Schools in Washington, D.C. 

Having authored over 50 publications, including the book Talking about Race, Simmons is unapologetically committed to anti-racism work and is a professorial lecturer at iAmerican University where he teaches Social Justice and Urban Education in addition to a course on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity. He currently resides in Washington DC, with his wife and two sons. 



The brief story of Dr. Simmons provides us with a significant foundation of understanding about how he may view the world based on his lived experience. It’s impossible for our lived experience not to inform who we are and how we navigate the world. However, not being in tune with our lived experience and how it helps navigate our world might also contribute to not being in tune with others lived experience and how it navigates their world. In other words, it provides a deeper understanding of your own perspective and the perspective of others.


As you continue to move through this section of the module, please see yourself as a storyteller and think of how the stories of your past, the stories of your present, and the stories you’re still creating will continue to shape and challenge your cultural lens and cultural identity.