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Press Release

NEA member named 2022 National Teacher of the Year

NEA President: Kurt represents the ideal educator, committed to the well-being of every student
Published: April 20, 2022

WASHINGTON – NEA member Kurt Russell, a veteran Ohio high school history teacher, is the 2022 National Teacher of the Year.

Russell is dedicated to transforming his students’ lives—in the classroom and on the basketball court. To make that happen, his mission at Ohio’s Oberlin High School includes bringing “attention and awareness to the importance of diverse faculty and representative curriculum that helps students feel more empowered in their education.” He is known for coaching an incredible basketball team, as well as teaching the history of the Americas, African American history, and courses on Race, Gender, and Oppression.

“Kurt represents the very ethos of the ideal educator, committed to the well-being of every single student that graces his classroom or court at Oberlin High—a shining role model for all children, especially our Black and brown boys who need to see more educators that look like them in front of the classroom,” said NEA President Becky Pringle. “He is building a community of young critical thinkers who will enter the world more curious, open-minded, and knowledgeable - who will be able to see the world as it truly is – and demand more.”

“On behalf of the NEA’s more than three million members, we congratulate Kurt for creating an environment where every student feels welcome, no matter their race, background, or ability. His work is something we are all so proud of, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for him and his students.” 

“The Ohio Education Association (OEA) extends its warmest congratulations to Kurt Russell on this prestigious and very well-deserved honor,” OEA President Scott DiMauro said. “Kurt is a thoughtful and courageous educator who believes in the transformative power of education in his students’ lives. He works tirelessly to deliver culturally relevant lessons and tackle the tough topics with age-appropriate conversations, so all his students – regardless of where they are from or what they look like can see themselves in their curriculum and feel empowered to be proud of who they are and who they can become in the future.”

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) announced the four finalists, all NEA members, for the 2022 National Teacher of the Year in January. CCSSO’s National Teacher of the Year program identifies exceptional teachers, recognizes their effective work in the classroom, engages them in a year of professional learning, amplifies their voices, and empowers them to participate in policy discussions at the state and national levels.

Learn more about Kurt Russell, including his biography and photos, at


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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, students preparing to become teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees. Learn more at  


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National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.