The former Staples and Wesleyan University star — now a noted author, columnist and teacher — is the 1st individual to win a National Book Foundation “Innovations in Reading Prize.”
The $2,500 award says that Rob’s “creativity, commitment and passion for sharing his love of books with his students are exceptional. He is a powerful example of the impact a single, devoted teacher can have on the lives of his students.”
Rob teaches English and creative writing (and coaches soccer) at Santa Fe Prep in New Mexico (whose headmaster, Jim Leonard, is also a former Staples soccer player).
In honoring Rob, a former student and co-teacher in his classroom said she was “awed and inspired by his ability to draw out insights and surprisingly sophisticated opinions regarding literature….Rob shaped my education and life as teacher and mentor.”
Another former student wrote: “From Rob I learned that my voice, my perspective, and my (mundane teenage) life were worth writing about….Rob’s teaching opened up a whole new world for me to escape into….Rob was the first ‘real’ writer I ever knew, and remains a model of a true teacher-scholar I strive to be.”
Rob — who holds a master’s degree from New Mexico State University — has written 2 books. Daddy Needs a Drink chronicles his not-always-wonderful life as the father of young children, while Tales From the Teachers’ Lounge offers an inside look at the not-always-wonderful world of education.
His essays have been published in Newsweek, Details, Salon, Working Mother, and elsewhere. He has been a commentator for NPR’s “Morning Edition.” His “Daddy Needs a Drink” column appears monthly in the Santa Fe Reporter.
His website is www.robertwilder.com