image of Robbin Cross

Robbin Cross

On November 2, the Tennessee Department of Education announced that Franklin Special School District ChildNutrition Supervisor Robbin Cross was one of two state finalists for the Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) Award.

The RISE Award was created by Congress in 2019 and is overseen by the U.S. Department of Education to honor classified school employees, such as administrative, food and nutrition, health and student service, transportation or custodial staff, who provide exemplary service to students and their communities. This is the first year the award will be given. 

“We are excited to honor Mrs. Robbin Cross and Ms. Jennifer Burleson (School Nutrition Director for Bristol City Schools) for their exemplary service to our state and students and nominate them as Tennessee’s finalists for this award,” said Gov. Bill Lee. “Along with so many school nutrition staff members, they have worked to ensure students had access to critical meal services in the midst of a pandemic and resulting school building closures. We are grateful for all of our school employees who have worked to keep our students safe, fed and healthy in the past year.”  

“When school buildings closed last spring in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw our school nutrition staff from across the state step up in incredible and innovative ways to keep students fed,” said Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn“With this nomination, we honor two of these amazing individuals who have truly gone above and beyond for students. Congratulations to Ms. Burleson and Mrs. Cross and thank you for your commitment to students.” 

The Tennessee Department of Education, in coordination with the Governor’s Office, selected these two finalists from a pool of nominees submitted from across the state by local educational agencies, school administrators, professional associations, nonprofits, parents and community members. The U.S. Department of Education will announce the national honoree and present the individual with an award in the spring. For more information about the award, click here.   

“We are elated for this recognition of Robbin Cross for the RISE Award! Mrs. Cross led a tremendous effort to ensure the children in our community received nutritious meals during the extended closure of the school district due to the pandemic,” said David Snowden, Director of Schools for Franklin Special School District. “She is constantly looking for ways to improve the program and serve children and families. We are so proud of Mrs. Cross and the members of the Child Nutrition Team for providing this exemplary service!”