Robin Variest

Senior Specialist, Louisiana

rvariest@niet.org

Robin Variest serves as a senior specialist in Louisiana. Robin brings 26 years of experience in public, parochial, and charter schools in Texas and Louisiana. Prior to joining NIET, Robin worked as an assistant principal and professional development coach in Pointe Coupee Parish Schools. She worked for the Louisiana Department of Education as a TAP executive master teacher supporting Pointe Coupee Parish and Tangipahoa Parish school districts. Robin also served as a district-based executive master teacher for East Feliciana Parish Schools. While working in East Feliciana, she also served as Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) project director/literacy coordinator, as well as career and technical education support. Prior to her roles in school and district leadership, Robin worked as a secondary mathematics teacher and a TAP master teacher.

Robin has served in many capacities in various local education agencies. However, the overwhelming majority of experiences have been supporting teachers and students in classrooms. Coaching teachers and facilitating professional development reinforce her core value of servant leadership.

Robin received her Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education (Mathematics) from Southern University and her Master of Arts in Education (Curriculum and Instruction) from University of Phoenix.

 Robin  Variest

Why are you passionate about working at NIET?

I am passionate about working at NIET because as a TAP Master Teacher, NIET changed the way that I thought about teaching and learning. I experienced a shift in paradigm that allowed me to grow as an educator. NIET afforded me the opportunity to support teaching and learning beyond my classroom through the use of research-based strategies and structures. NIET lit a fire within me that reignited my excitement for teaching and allowed me to share that light with others.

Who is your favorite teacher?

Even though my mother was my physical education teacher in high school, my favorite teacher is my music teacher Mrs. Marie G. Hurst. I spent nine years, from third grade through twelfth grade, as a student of Mrs. Hurst. As a piano and choir teacher, she was a giant among giants! She knew how to teach, what to teach, and who she was teaching! My love for and appreciation of music are very deep, simply because of the passion that she shared with and inspired in me and countless students throughout Pointe Coupee Parish. I am a musician in the church right now because she was with me at age 11 giving me a chance to play the organ, even though my feet could not touch the pedals. There are not enough superlatives in the English language to describe Mrs. Hurst! She is truly a special part of my life.

What do you do in your free time?

Any free time that I have is usually spent with my husband and two sons. We enjoy traveling. I truly love watching my husband perform as lead singer with his band. Any other free time is spent reading books by my favorite author Beverly Jenkins. I most enjoy her historical romance novels because they are steeped in African-American history presenting little known facts that are very interesting.