Black Business

Former Black Special Ed Student Who Graduated With 1.8 GPA is Now a Best-Selling Author and Therapist

Ronnie Sidney, II, who spent seven years in Special Ed and graduated high school with a 1.8 GPA, is now a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), therapist, best-selling author, and entrepreneur. Despite being labeled as an African American student with learning disabilities, he also went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services at Old Dominion University in 2006. After that, he earned a Masters degree from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Social Work in 2014.Now, Sidney is both a best-selling and award-winning author and entrepreneur. In 2015, he released an Amazon bestseller entitled Nelson Beats the Odds, a semiautobiographical comic book about a young man who struggles with the shame of being placed in special education. He also released another successful book entitled Tameka’s New Dress which addresses topics like childhood trauma, parental substance abuse, kinship care and bullying with a gentle touch suitable for even the youngest children.

For his work, in 2017, Old Dominion University honored Sidney with the prestigious Darden Award, an award given to Darden College of Education alumnus who have made outstanding achievements. In 2020, Virginia Commonwealth University featured Sidney in the Shafer Court Connections magazine, and he was one of 200 VCU Alumni featured in The Power Issue, which honored inspiring alumni. 

Sidney’s early academic challenges ignited a passion within him to pursue social justice and to work with inner city youth. All in all, he has spent more than 15 years in the mental health and academic counseling fields.

In addition to his professional and academic life, Sidney is a loving husband and father of four amazing children. He is also a member of several boards, including the advisory board for VCU’s Center on Transition Innovations (VCU-CTI), which provides evidence-based resources and information along with emerging practices in the field. He is also an active member of the Essex County Economic Development Authority and Essex Youth Football Association.

Be sure to follow him on @RonnieSidneyII

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