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Jean Russell of Southwest Allen County Schools - 2016 Teacher of the Year

FORT WAYNE – Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz announced that Jean Russell is the 2016 Indiana Teacher of the Year today. Russell is a literacy specialist at Haverhill Elementary School in Southwest Allen County Schools. She has been an educator for 25-years.

“As a literacy specialist, Jean uses her unique position to provide students and educators with innovative teaching and learning opportunities,” said Glenda Ritz, Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. “As a teacher leader, Russell supports student literacy by creating a culture of readers both in and outside the classroom. Her commitment to student-centered learning and family engagement is why I am excited to announce that Jean Russell is Indiana’s 2016 Teacher of the Year.”

Russell is a graduate of the University of Illinois where she earned a B.A. in Elementary Education. She later received a M.A. in Elementary Education from Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne. Russell was a classroom educator for 21-years before becoming a literacy specialist. As Indiana’s Teacher of the Year, Russell will represent Indiana in the National Teacher of the Year competition. A selection of her career awards is listed below.

Honors and Awards

  • Southwest Allen County Teacher of the Year – 2015
  • Haverhill Teacher of the Year – 2015
  • Whispering Meadows Teacher of the Year – 1997
  • Southwest Allen County Schools Education Foundation Award Recipient

About the Indiana Teacher of the Year Program

The Indiana Teacher of the Year program began in 1957 and continues as the oldest, most prestigious state honors program that focuses public attention on excellence in teaching. The Indiana Teacher of the Year award recognizes and utilizes representatives of excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms of the state. Its mission is to build and utilize a network of exemplary teachers who are leaders in the improvement of schools, student performance, and the teaching profession.

The Indiana Teacher of the Year is chosen from among the current Indiana District Teachers of the Year who complete and submit an Indiana Teacher of the Year Portfolio to the Indiana Department of Education’s Teacher of the Year Coordinator. A selection committee comprised of past Teachers of the Year reviews and ranks each portfolio following the rubric and portfolio guidelines. The selection committee determines the top ten candidates based on this evaluation system. The selection committee then conducts interviews with the finalists and conducts classroom observations with the top three candidates.