Kurt Russell ’94 named one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year

headshot of Kurt Russell '94

Kurt Russell, a Wooster ’94 graduate, has been selected as a finalist for the 2022 National Teacher of the Year by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Russell was named the Ohio Teacher of the Year last September and is now one of just four finalists from across the country vying for the national award.

The finalists, who also include educators from Colorado, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania, will complete interviews with the selection committee. The 2022 National Teacher of the Year will be announced later this spring and will spend a year serving as an ambassador for education and an advocate for a ll teachers and students.

Russell has 25 years of experience in the classroom and is currently a social studies teacher and boys basketball coach at his alma mater, Oberlin High School, where he teaches African American history, U.S. history, International Baccalaureate History of the Americas, and Race, Gender and Oppression.

The CCSSO pointed out Russell’s emphasis on “cultural relevance and diverse representation in the curriculum.” Russell also co-founded a Black Student Union at his school, leading to positive impacts for both students of color and white students. He also is the lead teacher and advisor for Student Council and the Junior Class.

Russell earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wooster with 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.”

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.

He has also garnered numerous awards as the Oberlin High School boys basketball coach, winning the Lorain County Basketball Association Coach of the Year and the Northeast Ohio Coach of the Year.

CCSSO’s National Teacher of the Year program identifies exceptional educators across the country, celebrates their work in and outside the classroom, and through a one-of-a-kind professional development opportunity, helps them amplify their voices and empowers them to engage in conversations around teaching and learning, communication and advocacy and education policy and leadership.

Published Jan. 21, 2022

Posted in Alumni on January 21, 2022.

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