Getting to Know Dr. Russell

Getting to Know Dr. Russell

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting the new librarian for Academic Magnet, Dr. Lara Russell.

Dr. Russell is a native of Blacksburg, Virginia, located in the Blue Ridge Mountain region, as well as an alumni of Guilford College. After she graduated, she joined the Peace Corps, and engaged in a three month language immersion program in the country of Hungary, where she then proceeded to stay in a small village to teach ELA and English in a Junior High School for the next two years, 1994-1996. Hungary had recently transitioned from the socialist regime of the People’s Republic of Hungary into a more democratic, capitalist society after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, in part a product of the Revolutions of 1989 that took place there. These revolutions in the 80s and 90s culminated the communist rule for the majority of Central and Eastern Europe.  Dr. Russell detailed her experience in a Hungarian village of solely 1,200 people as the first American many of the locals there had seen, where “everybody knew you and what you were doing,” but with genuine and un-intrusive interest. Additionally, she highly recommends that anyone with interest in the experience to take part in the Peace Corps as well, and she found it very formative for her own self.

Since then, she has earned a masters from George Washington University, and a doctorate in education from the University of Virginia as well, in and of itself an illustration of her passion for that line of work. Dr. Russell is an avid reader, recommending Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, as well as any of Jane Austen’s work. In addition, her other hobbies include traveling and her next destination hopefully is Machu Picchu, the 15th century Incan monument in Southern Peru. She also enjoys running and the natural stress release it provides.

Dr. Russell found Magnet through her internship under Mrs. Kreamer, as she had recently finished a second masters in information and library science from the University of South Carolina. Her interest in education stems from her interest in providing equal opportunities for students of all backgrounds, and the identification of more diverse, talented students to ensure everyone is represented. Over the past couple of weeks, she has loved the inquisitive and curious nature of the students here, and the fact many are very passionate about academics and bettering themselves through their education. Therefore, she recently founded the Library Advisory Council, a group where several teachers and students of the school have taken to the idea of modernizing the media center and its services in order for it to be more beneficial for the students. And if you have any interest in the program, she says please do not hesitate to contact her!

One of the things I personally enjoyed most about my time spent getting to know Dr. Russell, was the fact that even though I came with the intention of interviewing her, she asked me questions in return – a candid example of her very sincere interest in spending time and getting to know the student body and community of the school. Thank you for your time and we hope your transition here has been going smoothly!!!