Kurt Russell ’94 named 2022 Ohio Teacher of the Year

Kurt Russell receives Ohio Teacher of the Year award

Kurt Russell, a Wooster ’94 graduate and social studies teacher at Oberlin High School, was named the 2022 Ohio Teacher of the Year as announced by the Ohio Department of Education.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria made the announcement in a schoolwide assembly last week.

“I’m extremely honored to have been recognized as Ohio Teacher of the Year,” Russell said. “I applaud all those wonderful and gifted teachers throughout the state that are making impactful relationships in students’ lives. It is a joy to represent my fellow educators and students in being a voice for educational improvement. Finally, thank you to Oberlin City Schools for striving to be great! It’s truly a pleasure to work alongside some of the best administrators, staff and students.”

“The Teacher of the Year program does an outstanding job of identifying and celebrating Ohio’s incredible educators,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “I want to congratulate Mr. Russell on being named Ohio’s Teacher of the Year. All of Ohio’s teachers have shown their dedication and commitment to our students especially during the ongoing pandemic.”

Russell earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wooster with a major in History and a minor in Black Studies. His Independent Study was published with the title, “The Hell and Back: the Effects of Reconstruction Upon the Lives of African-Americans.”

“My Wooster education provided me with a Socratic methodology,” Russell said. “Wooster allows students to think critically and to formulate their own thoughts. This is how I teach my class – giving students the opportunity to take ownership of their own learning.”

He has 25 years of experience in the classroom and teaches multiple courses, including African American history, U.S. history, International Baccalaureate history of the Americas and a course on race, gender and oppression in American and world history.

Russell is a lead teacher at Oberlin High School and is an advisor for the Black Student Union, student council and junior class.

Russell also received teacher of the year awards from the Oberlin Heritage Center in 2009 and the Oberlin Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 2019.

As the Oberlin High School basketball coach since 1996, he also received numerous awards, including the Lorain County Basketball Association’s Coach of the Year and the Northeast Ohio Coach of the Year.

As the state teacher of the year, Russell will represent Ohio in the 2022 National Teacher of the Year selection sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Posted in Alumni on September 17, 2021.

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