Citizen of the Week: Russ Southerland

Summer school can be vital for some students, who need to catch up on their credits to graduate on time.

Making sure that summer school runs smoothly can be a daunting task, especially in the midst of a pandemic.

But Morris Innovative High School Principal Pat Hunt says teacher Russ Southerland has excelled at the job.

"A few years ago, it just got to be too much for me to do to get it all done," Hunt said. "So he stepped up and took it on. He has been in charge of running the summer school program here at Morris. He has been doing that for several years, and really, he's always willing to step up and do anything and everything he can for the kids."

During the school year, Southerland teaches psychology and sociology and government at Morris. But for summer school, he "does everything," said Hunt.

"He takes care of registering the kids for summer school," she said. "He makes sure they are in the right classes. He monitors everything that is going on, makes sure everyone is there, and reports back to me daily, lets me know who needed help. He calls parents if a child isn't doing the work or isn't progressing. He's here from 7 to 5 every day."

Summer school had about 150 students this year.

"It's for any high school student who needs to get credits they couldn't get during the school year," Hunt said.

Summer school this year was a mixture of online and classroom instruction.

"It was a little more challenging than usual to make sure that students were where they needed to be and doing what they needed to do," Hunt said. "But he (Southerland) got it all done."

For all of his many efforts to make summer school at Morris Innovative High School successful, the Daily Citizen-News names Russ Southerland Citizen of the Week.

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