Teacher Spotlight — February 2021

Meet Ms. Sheilia Russell / Lead Teacher / KIPP DC Arts & Technology Academy

Ms. Sheilia Russell is a Kindergarten lead teacher at KIPP DC Arts and Technology Academy and February’s Teacher Spotlight! Ms. Russell joined KIPP DC in 2015 as a Resident in the Capital Teaching Residency program after graduating first from Delaware State University and then later earning her masters in educational leadership from Liberty University. Teaching, as she described, has always been a lifelong passion for her.

“I have always known that teaching is what I want to do with my life. My first job was not an office job or working in a restaurant, it was teaching kids in a summer camp. Before joining KIPP DC, I was a daycare teacher and also an afterschool coordinator. Teaching is just something I have always enjoyed doing.”

In deciding to join KIPP DC, the Capital Teaching Residency and the support and skill development provided to educators made it the perfect fit for the next steps in Ms. Russell’s educational journey.

“The support you receive through the Capital Teaching Residency is what drew me to KIPP DC and the program. I was pleased that they not only supported you developing professionally as a teacher but also in gaining licensure.”

After completing her Resident year teaching PreK4 students, Ms. Russell has also taught PreK3 students and currently teaches Kindergarten.

“I’ve been with Arts and Technology Academy my entire time with KIPP DC. The Capital Teaching Residency laid a great foundation for me, and teaching all grade levels here at Arts and Technology Academy has just broadened my experiences as an educator. I am blessed to have had some of the same students as they have grown, so it’s allowed me to build strong bonds with them and their families.”

In educating our youngest learners at the beginning stages of their educational journey, Ms. Russell plays an essential role in laying a foundation for students to succeed in the future. She was Arts and Technology Academy’s 2018-19 Teacher of the Year, and in connecting with her students, she describes her teaching style as energetic and uplifting.

“I have so much fun with my students. I’m an animated teacher. I love singing, moving around, and being silly with my students. I love this age group, and I could not see myself teaching anywhere else.”

As one of Arts and Technology Academy’s longest tenured teachers, Ms. Russell is also a leader within her school community and always willing to lend support and guidance to her teammates.

“We are all just so supportive of each other and I love the family atmosphere that we have here. I have been with Arts and Technology Academy since its second year with KIPP DC, and I just so much respect for everyone here and how much they bring to the table for our students.”

Ms. Russell approaches her work with students guided by love and care. But it’s also what she receives back from her students that continues to motivate her each day. “They are just so loving and trusting. I love those informal moments outside of the instruction, whether that’s hearing a student sing or listening to them describe what they did that weekend. My students bring me so much joy with how caring, trusting, and uplifting they are.”

Learn more about the Capital Teaching Residency or apply to be a lead teacher today!

Posted on February 9, 2021 in Community