Headshot_Darlene_Russell NJCTE Teacher of the Year 2020

Dr. Darlene Russell

NJCTE’s English Teacher of the Year

Dr. Darlene Russell is a Professor and Fulbright Scholar in the College of Education at William Paterson University. She teaches undergraduate and graduate English methods, literacy and educational foundation courses. Her teaching philosophy rests on three critical pillars: love, hope and social justice. Dr. Russell is the founder of the Nurturing Culturally Responsive Equity Teachers (NCRET) Research Project, which focuses on implementing a culturally responsive and pro-social justice curriculum in secondary classrooms. Darlene Russell and NCRET scholars have presented at national conferences in over fifteen states. She is also the founder of My Sisters’ Nest, a mentoring group for female college students from underrepresented groups. Her research agenda orbits around critical literacy, critical race theory, and culturally responsive pedagogy.

Dr. Darlene Russell was the recipient of the William Paterson University’s Woman of Vision 2015 Award. She is the textbook author of Seeing the Invisible: Reading Literature through Critical Lenses; and she has co-authored two books with students. Her third collaborative book with students, Bearing Witness: Humanizing Narratives of Seeing Self and Others, will be released this month. Professor Russell is the author of several journal articles, book chapters and book reviews. She has presented her research at laudable professional organizations like the American Educational Research Association (AERA), National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), to name a few. Darlene serves as a board member for Literacy Solutions, Research on Women and Education (RWE), and Sister to Sister, International (STSI). The field of education is undoubtedly her calling. With each academic year, Dr. Russell becomes more committed to and ebullient about learning and teaching.

The Governor’s Awards in Arts Education began in 1980 to promote awareness and appreciation of the arts, recognizing the creativity, talent and leadership of the award winners. Each year, awards are presented to approximately 20 educators and 80 students. National and statewide organizations select the students for their exemplary work in creative writing, speech, dance, music, theatre and visual arts and the leaders for their exceptional commitment and contribution to arts education. The program also recognizes arts educators and arts education advocates, whose leadership has helped nurture the development of students in the arts across the state.

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The Governor’s Awards event is a partnership of the Arts Ed NJ, the Department of Education, Art Pride New Jersey Foundation, the Department of State and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Additional support is provided by: the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics; Art Educators of New Jersey; Art Administrators of New Jersey; Dance New Jersey; New Jersey Council of Teachers of English; New Jersey Speech and Debate League; New Jersey Music Educators Association; New Jersey Performing Arts Center; Writer's Theatre of New Jersey; Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey; New Jersey Thespians and Young Audiences of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. The cooperating organizations, award sponsors and individual members of the planning council dedicate their time to make sure that excellence in the arts is rewarded, and work tirelessly throughout the year to plan this special event. The Governor's Awards in Arts Education ceremony are a major collaborative effort of the arts, education and state government.