Russell and Green Honored as “UChicago Outstanding Educators”


Emily Yuan, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Accepted by University of Chicago last year, Elsa Batalden ’ 22 and Annie Yang ’22 nominated two Kent School teachers, Mrs. Russell and Dr. Green, for the UChicago Outstanding Educator Award. 

Interacting with Mrs. Russell in her Latin Honors 2 and Latin Honors 3 courses, Batalden ’ 22 saw Mrs. Russell as a thoughtful teacher and kind person, who cares about the physical and mental well-being of her students. After committing to UChicago and receiving an email to nominate an educator, Mrs. Russell’s name came to her mind because her class was what Batalden looked forward to each day. “Sometimes we’d have a class breakfast before a translation quiz, and I always laughed so much in every class,” Batalden shared. Aside from phenomenal classroom dynamics, Mrs. Russell stimulated Batalden’s interest in a subject that many others call a dead language. When asked to reflect the impact of Mrs. Russell on her academic pursuits, Batalden explained Mrs. Russell motivated her to consider minoring in classic or Latin–she hopes to be fluent in the language. Furthermore, Mrs. Russell has changed which humanities classes Batalden takes at UChicago and inspired her to read books in Latin.  

When Mrs. Russell first met Batalden in Latin class, she had the impression that Batalden was very bright, studious, asking advanced questions, and always going above and beyond. Latin is a difficult course: there are 10 forms of each noun, 30 forms of each adjective, and hundreds of forms of each verb. After explaining in what context to use which form and how to understand Latin texts when authors manipulate the grammar for an effect, Mrs. Russell seeks accuracy for the grammar and diction on assessments while being more open to interpretation for the interpretation aspect. “Elsa was meticulous with grammar and translation,” Mrs. Russell remembered. In college and beyond, Mrs. Russell hopes Elsa stays true to her beliefs. 

Also attending UChicago, Annie Yang ’ 22 nominated Dr. Green, who teaches physics, astronomy, meteorology, geology, and more. First meeting Yang in Accelerated Physics, Dr. Green describes her as doing things her own way and solving problems uniquely. “If my answers disagree with Annie’s, I’d have to go back and check my calculations,” Dr. Green chuckled. Reflecting on Yang’s influence in his class, Dr. Green claims, once in a while, there comes a student who becomes a thinking partner, a student who makes their teachers better. In Yang’s senior year, she completed a Guild Paper with Dr. Green about the conjecture possibility of a completely hydrous world. Aside from working out the components of the planet with different states of water, Yang formed ideas of establishing a civilization and utilizing the available resources for society, creating an interdisciplinary project that went from nothing to something amazing. Thinking back on his interactions with Yang, Dr. Green described that “Annie dedicated herself to a life of the mind, organizing everything she did.” Looking ahead, Dr. Green hopes Yang pursues things that bring her joy as well as commit her mind to the growing world.