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Oberlin City Schools teacher named 2022 Ohio Teacher of the Year


Kurt Russell, a social studies teacher at Oberlin High School in Oberlin City Schools, has been named the 2022 Ohio Teacher of the Year. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria made the surprise public announcement during a schoolwide assembly at Oberlin High School. 

With 25 years of experience, Russell is a veteran teacher who believes education can transform students’ lives. He teaches multiple courses, including African American history, U.S. history, international baccalaureate history of the Americas and a course on race, gender and oppression in American and world history. Russell also serves as a lead teacher at the high school and is an adviser for the Black Student Union, student council and junior class.

In addition to being named the 2022 Ohio Teacher of the Year, Russell 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. As an Oberlin City Schools basketball coach since 1996, he has received numerous awards, including the Lorain County Basketball Association’s Coach of the Year and the Northeast Ohio Coach of the Year.

Russell received his Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in history and minor in Black studies from the College of Wooster. He earned a Master of Education degree in curriculum and instruction from Ashland University. He continues to take courses in child development at Oakland City University.

Earlier this year, school administrators, fellow educators, parents, students and community members nominated teachers for Ohio’s State Board District Teacher of the Year awards. In July, Russell received the State Board District 2 Teacher of the Year award – one of 11 teachers statewide to receive the district-level honor. From the field of 11, Russell was one of four teachers named as a finalist for the statewide award. As the state teacher of the year, Russell will represent Ohio in the 2022 National Teacher of the Year selection sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The Ohio Teacher of the Year program began in 1964. Details about the selection process, the list of previous recipients and additional program information are available on the Ohio Department of Education website.