News & Events

Kurt Russell, 2022 National Teacher of the Year, on "Confronting the Uncomfortable"

February 7, 2023, 2:15 pm (at the Kiva)

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 advocates 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; and as 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.