WJCT’s American Graduate Champions 2016 – Travis Pinckney


Travis Pinckney is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and founder of the College R-E-D culture. Ten years ago Travis was filling buckets of water from his church for he and his mother to take a bath, earning poor grades in high school, and entrusting drug dealers as his mentors. He made a sharp turn when he saw his close mentor go to prison for selling drugs. He had to take the ACT and SAT a combined 7 times before passing, and he received an $80,000 scholarship to the University of North Florida. He used the investment of David and Ann Hicks to graduate with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education.

Travis worked to raise academic achievement as a 2nd grade teacher and a high school guidance counselor at the lowest performing high school in Florida at the time – Andrew Jackson. He currently travels nationally and internationally providing schools with a College R-E-D Day experience, where schools receive student, faculty, and family workshops, a keynote, and an energetic concert that unifies students and faculty toward a positive culture where the focal point is college readiness and success in college and beyond.

In 2014, South Creek Middle in North Carolina adopted College R-E-D as a school-wide incentive and success model for student achievement. Recently, Travis has partnered with his mentor, Mel Gottlieb, to start College R-E-D at Martin Gottlieb & Associates, LLC where children of employees learn to overcome academic or personal failure and pursue college and career.

Watch more American Graduate Champion videos HERE!