OBERLIN, Ohio (WJW) – An Oberlin High School history teacher has been named the best in the nation.

Kurt Russell has been teaching for 25 years.

Tuesday, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) announced the veteran teacher is the 2022 National Teacher of the Year.

“I am truly humbled and honored to be selected as the National Teacher of the Year,” Russell said. “With this recognition, I hope to bring attention and awareness to the importance of diverse faculty and representative curriculum that helps students feel more empowered in their education.”

Russell’s curriculum includes African American history; U.S. history; International Baccalaureate History of the Americas; and Race, Gender and Oppression.

Russell is also the school’s head varsity basketball coach and the faculty advisory to a student-led Black Student Union.

“Kurt’s extensive career shows the power of educators to shape the lives of students from the classroom to extracurricular activities to the basketball court,” said CCSSO Chief Executive Officer Carissa Moffat Miller. “Dedicated educators like Kurt will be key to helping students recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and set them up for success in college and careers.”

“Ohio is proud to have exceptional educators like Mr. Russell who strive to connect with their students and make a positive impact on their lives while ensuring they receive the high-quality education they deserve,” Ohio Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction Stephanie Siddens said.

CCSSO’s National Teacher of the Year Program identifies exceptional teachers across the country.

Teachers are first chosen in each state and then selected from that group.