A 25-year veteran of the classroom, Kurt Russell was first inspired to become a teacher in middle school, when he encountered his first Black male teacher. Now as 2022 National Teacher of the Year, he plans to advocate for classrooms to better reflect the students within them — from a curriculum that reflects their backgrounds and identities to a more diverse teaching profession.
Kurt 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 advisor for the student-led Black Student Union, whose work has led to positive impacts for students across racial groups.
Kurt shares what led him to become an educator and why he has stayed in the classroom for so long. He discuss the importance of diverse curriculum and class offerings and how African-American history and culture is under attack. Finally, host Shayna Terrell and Mr. Russell discuss how teaching is a political act and the importance of recruiting and retaining Black educators.