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Margaret R. Robinson, 60, who has been teaching first grade at Mark Twain Elementary School at Campbell Barracks since 1980, was named European PTA Educator of the Year for 2005-2006.

Margaret R. Robinson, 60, who has been teaching first grade at Mark Twain Elementary School at Campbell Barracks since 1980, was named European PTA Educator of the Year for 2005-2006. (Charlie Coon / S&S)

A Heidelberg woman who has been teaching first-graders for 26 years was named European PTA Educator of the Year for 2005-2006.

Margaret R. Robinson, 60, a native of Rocky Mount, N.C., has been working at Mark Twain Elementary School at Campbell Barracks since 1980.

She developed the Kids Read program, in which pupils are shown on American Forces Network television telling viewers about the books they are reading. The program started in Heidelberg and Mannheim but has caught on across Europe.

“They (pupils) want respect,” Robinson said. “Just as adults expect respect.”

Robinson also was cited for her work coordinating parents for the first-grade Thanksgiving feast, writing weekly newsletters for parents, and organizing pupils to come up with a school motto.

She often calls her first-graders at home in the evenings to check on how they are doing with their homework and studying.

Robinson said that parents’ deployments to war zones have strained many of the 6- and 7-year-olds in her care; they have one less parent with whom to show their spelling tests and drawings.

“They may or may not understand why (a parent was deployed),” Robinson said. “If they do have any type of understanding, it’s still a little bit sad that Mom or Dad is not here with them to share in their success at school.”

Robinson said she encourages mothers or fathers who are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan to phone the school whenever they want and talk to their child.

She is married to Army Maj. (Ret.) Rob Robinson, and the couple have two grown sons.

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