WP Professor Darlene Russell Wins “Educator of the Year” Award from New Jersey Council of Teachers of English

Professor Darlene Russell

Darlene Russell, a professor in the College of Education at William Paterson University and Fulbright Scholar, received the Educator of the Year Award for 2020 from the New Jersey Council of Teachers of English (NJCTE).

Russell was nominated for the award by Kabba E. Colley, a fellow professor in the University’s Department of Secondary and Middle School Education. Colley cited Professor Russell as a worthy candidate for the award because of her “enterprising work in the profession, indelible work as a servant leader, distinguished record of research and scholarship, teaching performance, and vision for the future of education.” 

"This award celebrates and affirms the decision I made over two decades ago to make an impact in education and teacher induction,” says Russell. “It’s a tribute to the amalgamation of educators like my parents, family members, mentors and colleagues who have supported me in my professional pursuits. And it encourages me to continue to go forward with aplomb and devotion in grooming prospective and current educators to be sociocultural conscious, critically reflective pedagogues who are completely vested in serving students."

In addition to her leadership roles in the American Educational Research Association and the Northeastern Educational Research Association, Russell is founder of the Nurturing Culturally Responsive Equity Teachers (NCRET) Research Project, designed to expose pre-service and in-service teachers to the value of culturally responsive instruction, and teaching for social justice and equity. Russell and NCRET scholars have presented at national conferences in more than 15 states.

 “Her ability to create space for collaborative, critical dialogue and work is unparalleled, especially for marginalized peoples,” says Executive Director of Secondary English Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham Professor Tonya Perry, who has worked extensively with Russell.

Russell is the co-author of two books with English education students, Leaving Footprints: Critical Narratives about Identity and Intertwined: A Collection of Personal Narratives on Relationships. Russell’s third book collaboration with students will be released this month. She authored the textbook, Seeing the Invisible: Reading Literature through Critical Lenses (Kendall Hunt). Among her journal articles and book chapters, she also co-edited a special issue of the journal Education Leadership Review titled, “The Fiery Melting Pot: Immigrant Women and Girls in Pursuit of Social Justice.”

The New Jersey Council of Teachers of English (NJCTE) recognizes one exceptional and experienced English/language arts educator -- a dedicated, innovative, dynamic Pre-K-12 teacher, university teacher, supervisor, or administrator -- whose activities have significantly and widely impacted New Jersey English language arts education. Due to of the cancellation of the NJCTE Spring 2020 Conference, it is hoped that Professor Russell will receive her award at the NJCTE Fall Conference scheduled for October 24, 2020 at Lawrenceville Township High School.