Mr. Russell is a Special Education Teacher. He's also the Boys' Swim Coach. Coordinator of Special Education, Ben Rhodes, says that combination of Athletics and academics benefits a lot of his students. "The students, the more they are involved in extra curricular activities the better they tend to do in school. So a lot of the times Mr. Russell can use the swimming as a hook to engage the students."
Mr. Russell was nominated by Gabby Smith's family. Her brother Michael is in his class and has made major strides this year.
Now he likes to come to school.
Mike Russell's wife Pegge also teaches at East. She's the Girls' Swim Coach. "You know he's had a lot of contact with the family. when he's not in school he immediately communicates with the family. Where is he? Why is he not here? And Michael's attendance has significantly gone up."
So on behalf of Michael and Gabby's family we showed up to say thank you. Mr. Russell says helping Mike enjoy school more has been rewarding. What's his secret? "Make them laugh. That's the best way I think. Kevin: Get them interested? Mike: Yes. 45:15 Best way to make them interested is make them laugh so they'll enjoy it and that way they're interested."
Michael Russell is a News 8 Golden Apple Award winner. You can read the letter we got nominating him below.
Dear Channel 8,
We are nominating Mr. Russell because he is a really good teacher. My son Michael is receiving B's in his class. Michael would not go to school last year and Mr. Russell has kept encouraging him to come every day. He has a different teaching style that my son understands. So I'm hoping that Mr. Russell is chosen for the Golden Apple Award.
The Family of Michael Smith Jr.