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Oberlin High School teacher Kurt Russell named 2022 National Teacher of the Year

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Posted at 9:06 AM, Apr 19, 2022

OBERLIN, Ohio — Oberlin High School history teacher Kurt Russell has been named the 2022 National Teacher of the Year, according to the Ohio Department of Education.

“I am truly humbled and honored to be selected as the National Teacher of the Year,” Russell said. “With this recognition, I hope to bring attention and awareness to the importance of diverse faculty and representative curriculum that helps students feel more empowered in their education.”

Russell was previously recognized as teacher of the year by the Oberlin Heritage Center and the Oberlin chapter of the NAACP and as the Lorain County Basketball Association Coach of the Year and the Northeast Ohio Coach of the Year.

“Kurt Russell is an inspiring educator, leader and role model who is fully committed to his students’ success. His passion for ensuring students are engaged and enthusiastic about learning is evident,” Ohio Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction Stephanie Siddens said in a news release. “Ohio is proud to have exceptional educators like Mr. Russell who strive to connect with their students and make a positive impact on their lives while ensuring they receive the high-quality education they deserve. Congratulations and thank you to Mr. Russell for continuing to uplift, motivate and inspire your students, school community and, now, individuals across the nation.”

News 5 spoke to Russell after he was named the 2022 Ohio Teacher of the Year.

“When I found out, I had this imposter syndrome - like, ‘Why me?’” Russell said.

Our report from February:

Oberlin High School teacher 1 of 4 finalists for National Teacher of the Year

Teaching at Oberlin High School had been Russell’s goal since he was a student in the same halls. He credited his kindergarten teacher for instilling a love of learning at a young age.

In eighth grade, Russell was inspired to pursue teaching as a career when he had his first Black male teacher. As a Black man, he recognized the significance of representation.

“Two percent of all teachers are Black males. [That’s] very, very low,” he said. “I think it’s important in regards to reaching all students. It’s not just reaching Black students, it’s reaching all students, and breaking down some stereotypes, some of the false narratives of Black males in the United States of America.”

As one of four finalists in the running for national teacher of the year, Russell had to go through an interview process with the National Teacher of the Year Program’s Selection Committee.

As the 2022 National Teacher of the Year, Russell will spend the next year serving as an ambassador for education and an advocate for all teachers and students.

A celebration of his achievement will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 21 inside the Oberlin High School Auditorium, located at 281 North Pleasant Street in Oberlin.

RELATED: Oberlin High School teacher 1 of 4 finalists for National Teacher of the Year

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