University of Tennessee at Chattanooga alumna Nikki Russell has been named the state’s Outstanding Technology Teacher of the Year by the Tennessee Educational Technology Association.
Russell is a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teacher at Orchard Knob Elementary School in Chattanooga. She joined Hamilton County Schools as an elementary school teacher in 2005 and in 2018 became a STEM lab facilitator and science support lead teacher for the school system.
“I am so honored to have received the Tennessee Technology Teacher of the Year Award from TETA for 2019,” Russell said. “Our students will be looking to a future of jobs that do not exist currently. As an educator, I need to provide opportunities for them to explore their worlds and grow skills in a real-world sense. Integrating technology—for all students—in the future-focused environment of our STEM Lab is a must.
“As an educator, I am so grateful for conference opportunities like TETC, my colleagues and my professional learning community as I continue to grow my own skills. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga provided a solid foundation, and I am grateful for continued opportunities to reflect and grow as I provide instruction to my own students.”
Russell earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education at UTC, as well as her teaching and principal leadership certification.
She has master’s and educational specialist degrees from Tennessee Tech University in instructional leadership and administration and is licensed as a teacher and in professional instructional leadership in both Tennessee and Georgia.
Russell also is certified as a Google Educator, Apple Teacher, Ozobot Educator and Microsoft Educator. She is a graduate of the Chattanooga Public Education Foundation’s Leadership and STEM Fellows programs.
In the 2018-2019 academic year, she organized more than 60 learning exploration field trips for students to have hands-on STEM experiences.
Russell also is a facilitator for Tech Goes Home Chattanooga, part of The Enterprise Center’s digital inclusion program for Hamilton County residents. Tech Goes Home partners with schools, libraries, churches and nonprofit organizations to offer free instruction in the use of smart technology and the internet.
In January, she will be a featured presenter at the national Future of Education Technology Conference.