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Strong influences assist mold 2022 US Teacher of the Year

Strong influences assist mold 2022 US Teacher of the Year

OBERLIN, Ohio (AP) — It hardly seems a stretch to speak Kurt Russell was born to exist a history teacher.

Raised on his mother's stories concerning segregation with every one other accompanied by the secular rights movement inside Alabama with every one other accompanied by influenced by teachers from his childhood, the 50-year-old Russell has spent the last 25 years teaching history with every one other accompanied by African American history at Oberlin High School external outside Cleveland.

The Council of Chief State School Officers announced Tuesday that Russell is the organization's National Teacher of the Year for 2022. The category formerly named him Ohio's teacher of the year.

"Kurt's large career shows the ability of educators to form the lives of students from the classroom to extracurricular activities to the basketball court," CCSSO Chief Executive Officer Carissa Moffat Miller said inside a statement.

Russell will pay not here the following year representing educators with every one other accompanied by serving while an ambassador for students with every one other accompanied by teachers across the country, the organization said.

His classroom journey to teaching began accompanied by his white kindergarten teacher, Francine Toss, who read a painting book concerning the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. while he with every one other accompanied by other students sat inside a ring inside her classroom.


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"She had the audacity to introduce literature that was culturally relevant," Russell said. "I thought, 'Wow, that's a guy who looks exist fond of me.'"

The die was further cast for his future career while an eighth-grader when he walked into a math class taught by Larry Thomas, the earliest Black male teacher he had encountered. Russell said he was impressed by Thomas' demeanor with every one other accompanied by how he carried himself inside the classroom.

"He was someone who looked exist fond of me inside front of the classroom who all the kids enjoyed," Russell said. "This seemed exist fond of a career that I could enjoy. It fair changed my life."

His parents, Jerry with every one other accompanied by Retta Russell, who grew up attending segregated schools inside Alabama, moved to Oberlin inside the late 1960s, his father for building labour with every one other accompanied by his mother to get away the vestiges of the Jim Crow south.

His mother while a high educational organization student inside Linden, Alabama, marched accompanied by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who came to Linden at the invitation of the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, King's near friend with every one other accompanied by collaborator inside the secular rights movement. Students left-hand educational organization that day to fasten the march.

"That's how I fell inside deep affection accompanied by history, by hearing those stories," Russell said.

Russell obtained his "dream job" of teaching inside Oberlin, the city where he grew up, following graduating from the College of Wooster inside 1994. He helped grow an African American history way at Oberlin High School inside his earliest year there.

In addition to teaching set of two other general history classes, Russell with every one other accompanied by a music teacher have developed a class called Black Music inside the African Diaspora that covers the blues, jazz with every one other accompanied by R&B.

He credited the educational organization management for supporting the design of the class. "They could have said, 'No. We don't need that just now,'" Russell said.

Oberlin High School Principal Brent Betts lauded Russell's work.

Russell too is the boys basketball bus at Oberlin. His team finished the time accompanied by a 16-6 record with every one other accompanied by a conference championship. Betts said Russell sees the evolution of young men while additional important than developing basketball players.

"One of the greatest things concerning Kurt Russell is the classroom the arts he's created," Betts said. "He's created a the arts where everybody has a power of speech with every one other accompanied by students be in touch comfortable sharing their opinions."

Russell has high expectations with every one other accompanied by demands educational rigor, Betts said.

"He does not permit them to settle for less," Betts said. "They talk concerning durable subjects."

Asked concerning critical contest theory, an educational framework concerning systemic racism decried by conservative politicians with every one other accompanied by commentators, Russell called it a "dog whistle."

"I always tell individuals I do not teach contentious courses," Russell said. "I teach different courses. There's nothing contentious concerning teaching concerning women's rights or the homosexual rights movement."

Russell led a discussion throughout his African American history class last week tracing seminal events leading to secular rights movement. He started accompanied by the Scottsboro Boys, nine Black teens who were falsely accused of raping set of two white women inside the 1930s inside Alabama, to Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black teen brutally murdered inside Mississippi by set of two white men inside 1955 following actuality accused of flirting accompanied by a white woman.

Students were at that hour dated asked to form groups to list the quartet most important rights of Americans. Russell energetically guided the discussion, accompanied by all the students agreeing that access to the ballot carton is a crucial right.

When Russell asked whether convicted murderers should have the just to vote, the students weren't intelligent to stretch not here a accord earlier to the dismissal chime rang. When asked concerning the question afterward, Russell said murderers don't have that just nevertheless he wanted to place the question earlier to his students to believe concerning it.

"That's a durable one," he said accompanied by a smile.

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