The UW–Madison School of Education’s Early Career Teaching Institute (ECTI) will host a public keynote address by Kurt Russell, the 2022 National Teacher of the Year, on Tuesday, July 18, at 4 p.m.
Members of the public can view the presentation for free via livestream.
The Council on Chief State School Officers’ (CCSSO) National Teacher of the Year program identifies exceptional teachers across the country, recognizes their effective work in the classroom, engages them in a year of professional learning, and amplifies their voices.
A veteran teacher with over 25 years in the classroom, Russell was first inspired to become a teacher in middle school, when he encountered his first Black male teacher. As the 2022 National Teacher of the Year, he advocated for classrooms to better reflect the students within them — from a curriculum that reflects their backgrounds and identities to a more diverse teaching profession.
Russell teaches history at Oberlin High School in Oberlin, Ohio, where he was born and raised. His classes include African American history, which he has taught since the late 1990s, and Race, Gender and Oppression, a class he developed. He also serves as faculty adviser for the student-led Black Student Union, whose work has led to positive impacts for students across racial groups.
In addition to his classroom and extracurricular duties, Russell is the head coach for the school’s varsity basketball team. He sees basketball as an extension of the classroom, and a place where young people can learn about working together and how to handle both adversity and success.
The 2022 selection committee said in a statement: “Kurt is a powerful advocate who always puts students at the center of his work. With more than two decades in the classroom and strong connections to his community, he speaks with warmth and honesty on how schools can best meet students’ needs.”
“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. “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.”
The Early Career Teaching Institute, a program of the School of Education’s office of Professional Learning and Community Education (PLACE), is a one-week, in-person, intensive learning experience for pre-K-12 educators who are School of Education alumni. This year’s institute takes place July 17–20, and is made possible by the generosity of Mary T. and Ted D. Kellner, the Kellner Badger for Life Fund, and Propel.