An Open Letter To Robin

Robin Henderson, Director of MTR, concluded her seven year career at the Memphis Teacher Residency in March. As the MTR family prepares to celebrate her this weekend at the MTR Spring Formal, the time is right to share an open letter to her written by MTR President, David Montague. 


It is impossible to describe in one going-away letter the contribution and influence you have made to MTR.

The growth in both quantity of teachers served and in quality of program effectiveness during these seven years of the Robin Henderson Era has been nothing short of amazing.  While I have greatly enjoyed playing a role in this effort, no one has made a greater impact than have you.

Robin and staff

Christy Bicknell, Leah Luttrell, Robin Henderson and Molly Nied (left to right) enjoying Resident Orientation as co-workers and friends.

Your leadership and skill both academically and relationally have formed a community of professionalism and high expectations alongside one of grace and joy.  I will miss many things about you, but your steady spirit, beautiful smile and quick-to-laugh personality are at the top of the list.

In our staff Robin Henderson HugFest yesterday afternoon, I closed with two comments about you that I want to put in writing…

First, everybody hears of, understands and feels the weight of your glowing reputation that precedes you, and you are – in fact – even better in person.  Your reality is greater than your reputation.  That’s a rare accomplishment.

Dr. Henderson presenting at the MTR Memphis Conference.

Dr. Henderson presenting at the MTR Memphis Conference.

Second, a mark of a great leader is how well organizations continue on after their departure.  Poor leaders leave organizations that implode with their departure. Great leaders leave organizations that thrive after their departure.

Thank you for how you have left MTR.  You gave us more than one year’s notice. You were able to spend meaningful time equipping Molly and others for their new roles.  You have allowed a potentially stressful organizational transition to be done in the most calm and normal way possible.  These are great gifts to MTR and will help sustain and fuel our future.

You have left MTR in a wonderful place today and I have no doubt that the best days for MTR lie ahead… largely because of the culture, community and people you have nurtured these past years, and now leave behind for us.

I know you love MTR.  And, as I hope you have felt over the past few weeks particularly, all that is the MTR family loves you.  You will be missed.

Robin running in the St. Jude Marathon in Decemeber 2015.

Robin running in the St. Jude Marathon in Decemeber 2015. Also pictured, the MTR Grad Fan Club cheering her on!

I know you will be tremendously successful in Kansas City.  You cannot fail.  For I’m reminded of the wisdom of Clarence the angel at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life… “Remember, no one is a failure who has friends.”   And boy do you have friends, especially and forever at MTR.

May God bless you and keep you and make his face to shine upon you… as He has done for as long as I’ve had the great pleasure to know you.

Your friend,


For information on Robin’s new pursuit in Kansas City, visit her school’s website. To learn more about the core values of MTR that Robin has significantly influenced, visit this MTR page