Russell has taught for 25 years, and became inspired to teach after having his first Black male teacher in the eighth grade. His curriculum includes African-American history, which he has taught since the late 1990s, as well as race, gender and oppressions – a class he created.
“Students must see themselves in the classrooms and in the curriculum in order to empower and to engage,” Russell said at the White House. “That’s why I’ve created courses to allow students to feel valued.”
It was an honor to welcome the Teachers of the Year to the White House. Our educators have a greater impact on our country’s future than anyone else – and I’m grateful for their work every single day. pic.twitter.com/dL7aXwKoMs
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 1, 2022
Russell is also the school’s varsity basketball coach.
He has a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in history and minor in Black Studies from the College of Wooster and a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction from Ashland University. Russell continues to take child development classes at Oakland City University. He has also been recognized previously as the Oberlin NAACP Teacher of the Year and the Lorain County Basketball Association Coach of the Year, according to the CCSSO.