Haverhill Elementary Teacher Jean Russell (courtesy SWCS)
(Verbatim from Southwest Allen County Schools)
FORT WAYNE, IND., Sept. 8, 2015 — The Indiana Department of Education has named Southwest Allen County Schools teacher Jean Russell as one of 10 finalists for Indiana Teacher of the Year.
Russell is a literacy specialist at Haverhill Elementary School and has been teaching for 25 years, 21 at them at SACS.
“I am so excited and proud of Mrs. Russell and all the work she has done for the girls and boys in Southwest Allen County Schools,” Superintendent Dr. Philip G. Downs says. “She is a great example of the kind of dedicated and talented teachers we have at SACS. She, and all the other literacy coaches, provide so much support to our kids and teachers each and every day.”
As a literacy specialist, Russell provides on-going professional development to the entire Haverhill staff in the areas of reading and writing. She has helped create a community of readers, where reading spills into the community through parents, students, teachers and community members. She also designs trainings, models in classrooms and provides a wealth of resources for teachers throughout the district.
“Mrs. Russell is an amazing educator with a heart for education that goes unmatched,” Haverhill Principal Jeanine Kleber says. “Her presence in a building not only enhances student’s reading talents but enriches the lives of everyone around her with her passion, commitment, dedication and zeal for life. Southwest Allen County Schools is privileged to have an outstanding educator like Mrs. Russell working daily in our schools. Mostly importantly, students are very fortunate to have Mrs. Russell—a person with the love of education—advocating, teaching and loving them every day.”
Russell said she felt both honored and humbled by the award.
“My philosophy of being an instructional coach begins and ends with having the heart of a servant,” Russell says. “This has created opportunities for me to help both students and teachers learn more about themselves as learners, stretch themselves to learn more than they ever thought they could, and cheer them on to continue momentum.”