WP Professor Darlene Russell Honored by New Jersey Governor’s Awards in Arts Education for Demonstrating Leadership

Darlene Russell

Darlene Russell, a professor in the College of Education at William Paterson University and Fulbright Scholar, was honored by the New Jersey Governor’s Awards in Arts Education (NJGAAE) for demonstrating excellence and leadership in her discipline.

According to the NJGAAE website, “The field of education is undoubtedly her calling. With each academic year, Dr. Russell becomes more committed to and ebullient about learning and teaching.” https://www.njgaae.org/nomination/dr-darlene-russell/

This NJGAAE award follows Russell receiving the Educator of the Year Award for 2020 from the New Jersey Council of Teachers of English (NJCTE). She also received William Paterson University’s Woman of Vision 2015 Award.

Russell teaches undergraduate and graduate English methods, literacy and educational leadership courses. She says her teaching philosophy rests on three critical pillars: love, hope and social justice. She is the founder of the Nurturing Culturally Responsive Equity Teachers (NCRET) Project, which focuses on implementing a culturally responsive and pro-social justice curriculum in secondary classrooms. Russell and NCRET scholars have presented at national conferences in over 15 states.

She is also the founder of My Sister’s 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. 

Russell authored the textbook, 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 is in press. She is the author of several journal articles, book chapters and book reviews.

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.