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Oberlin’s Kurt Russell named National Teacher of the Year

Kurt Russell teaches history at Oberlin High School and is a 25 year veteran
Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 10:48 PM EDT
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OBERLIN, Ohio (WOIO) - A Northeast Ohio educator is getting an A+ and recognition all over the country.

Kurt Russell has been named the National Teach of the Year.

The Council of Chief State School Officers made the announcement Tuesday.

Russell is a history teacher at Oberlin High School in Oberlin, Ohio. Leaders say Russell works to emphasize cultural relevance and diverse representation in the curriculum of classes he teaches, including African American history; U.S. history; International Baccalaureate History of the Americas; and Race, Gender and Oppression.

“I get inspiration from my students,” said Russell in a CBS This Morning interview.

“He does a really good job of fostering conversations where everyone can have a perspective,” said one of his students.

CCSSO’s National Teacher of the Year Program identifies exceptional teachers all across the country by recognizing their effective work in the classroom.

For the next year, they’ll participate in professional learning at events all over the country, amplifying their voices.

In a time where K-12 curriculum is being scrutinized, Russell says he’s tackling touch topics that some shy away from and as a result, his students are enthusiastic about participating.

”My message is clear: to provide a diverse opportunity for all students. Only 2% of teachers are Black males but it’s more than that. It’s women in S.T.E.M., it’s men in their primary years. I want to make sure that an African-American history class and a race, gender and oppression class become normalized and not different,” said Russell.

Russell told CBS News he plans to advocate for classrooms to better reflect the students within them, from a curriculum that reflects their backgrounds and identities to a more diverse teaching profession.

“One thing that I really would like to stress receiving this award is to make sure students receive a well-rounded diverse education and that starts with faculty and staff and in the curriculum as well, making sure they see themselves in the curriculum and I believe that’s how students are engaged,” Russell said.

Oberlin’s Kurt Russell named National Teacher of the Year
Oberlin’s Kurt Russell named National Teacher of the Year(WOIO)

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