Black Male Educator Named 2022 National Teacher Of The Year

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A Black male educator in Ohio has been named the 2022 National Teacher of the Year.

Kurt Russell, a history teacher at Oberlin High School, was selected as this year's winner from a group of four finalists by the non-profit organization Council of Chief State School Officers.

Russell revealed on CBS Mornings this week that he draws his inspiration from the students in his classroom.

"Each and every day my children bring a scent of respect, a scent of an eagerness to learn, and I am just fortunate that I am a part of this great education," Russell told the show.

Russell has been teaching for 25 years and says his upbringing in the South and living through several major historical moments informed his desire to want to teach history. In his class, Russell says he looks for ways to discuss current events.

"I try to make sure that my students have the most opportunity to learn, and the way I do that is through engagement –– by allowing my students to see themselves in the curriculum, and by seeing themselves in the curriculum, students are growing," he said on CBS Mornings.

His students agree.

"He does a really good job of fostering conversations where everyone can have a perspective," a student shared with CBS News.

Oberlin High School senior Nia Mitchell described Russell as "enthusiastic" and shared that he "relates his curriculum to real-world experiences."

As a part of winning the 2022 National Title, Russell will get a chance to meet First Lady Dr. Jill Biden at the White House. He also hopes to use the newly earned platform to elevate his message about hiring educators from diverse backgrounds in the US.

"My message is clear: to provide a diverse education opportunity for all students," he said. "When I say diverse, representing faculty and staff as well."

According to Education Week, just 2% of America's teachers are Black males.

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