Teacher Feature: Jennifer Russell


From left to right: Jennifer Russell posing with her daughter Stella and husband Jake. She and her husband were married in December, 2020 in Savannah, Georgia, and Stella was born May 4, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Russell)

An artist at heart, Graphic Design teacher Jennifer Russell has both inspired students and been inspired by them.

This is Russell’s twentieth year teaching at Warren Hills. She has always had a passion for art and design throughout her years at school and was always drawn to the prospect of teaching. 

“I knew from a  young age that I wanted to be an art teacher,” she said. 

Russell has also been involved with sports and athletics since she was a student at Roxbury High School. Here at Warren Hills, she  has coached soccer, softball, track and field, swimming, basketball and girl’s lacrosse, stopping only a few years ago  to start a family, needing the time commitment. 

It was in high school that she fell in love with the prospect of teaching. She loved most of her teachers and feels that her high school experience prepared her for the job she has today. 

“There were many [teachers] that I wanted to be like, so a career in education seemed to be a way to be like those teachers that I looked up to so much,” she said. “I didn’t have the opportunity in high school to take any graphic design courses, because we didn’t have the class. But I did take many other art classes that helped prepare me to go to art school and now work as an art teacher.”

Russell said she started exploring careers after high school in fields of design with the help of her parents. It was only after high school that she learned of graphic art and design and thought that would be a great option.

“I vividly remember saying to them that I thought it would be fun to design the covers for CD’s,” she said.

Russell went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts from Kutztown University in 2002 and her Masters in Education from Centenary University in 2005. 

Russell said she worked as a graphic designer for a year or so after college, but she never stopped thinking about teaching. 

“I ended up going alternate route to education,” she said. “I earned my teacher’s certification after taking the Praxis Test for Art and being hired here at Warren Hills to start the Graphic Arts program.”

Russell currently teaches Graphic Art and Design I, Honors Graphic Art and Design and Visual Arts I.

Ever a learner as well as a teacher, Russell is currently enrolled in online Masters classes at the University of Laverne, where she is studying additional education-based courses.

         Russell said one of her favorite things about teaching is watching her students become more confident in their abilities. Seeing students’ creativity and watching them understand new topics is “fun,” she said.             

For those considering a similar career path, Russell had some sound advice. 

      “It’s important to treat people with respect and develop relationships with those around you,” she said, “and show a good worth ethic no matter what you do.”  

Russell also advised that,  “Not everything comes easily; hard work is part of being successful.”