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Retiring Simpson ES Teacher Honored

Kathy Russo was recognized by GCPS as the Georgia Future Problem Solving Program "Coach of the Year."

After nearly four decades in the classrom, Kathy Russo, retired from at the end of the 2011-2012 school year.

But before she closed the door to her classroom one last time, she was honored by Gwinnett County Public Schools for her work in coaching gifted education students for an annual competition called the "Georgia Future Problem Solving Program."

Russo, who taught Gifted Advanced Content Mathematics and Intervention at the Peachtree Corners school, lead the students to a first place finish in the state competition this year.

Her teaching career began 38 years ago, 22 of those years have been with GCPS. Russo was part of the inaugural staff at Simpson when it opened in 1993. She joined GCPS in 1990 as a special needs and gifted education teacher at before transferring to Simpson.

The Georgia Future Problem Solving Program is designed to engage students in critical thinking and creative problem solving and is part of the Future Problem Solving Program International. Founded by creativity pioneer, Dr. E. Paul Torrance, professor emeritus at the University of Georgia, FPSPI was created to improve "critical and creative thinking skills and encourages students to develop a vision for the future."

Are you a former student or parent of a child who was taught by Kathy Russo or attended this year's Future Problem Solving Program where the school took first place? Tell us in comments below.

Debbie Timm June 01, 2012 at 01:47 PM
My daughter, Anna Timm, had Kathy Russo as her gifted teacher in 5th grade. Kathy inspired Anna more than any other teacher she has ever had. Kathy is a gifted teacher and wonderful role model for her students. I am so glad that Anna was able to be a part of class! Congratulations to Kathy Russo on an amazing career and well deserved honor as "Coach of the Year".
Peter Case June 01, 2012 at 04:28 PM
I was fortunate enough to be in Mrs. Russo's FOCUS class from 3rd to 5th grade, and my only regret is that she wasn't also my English teacher. If she were, I'm sure I would be much more equipped to use the words of praise that she most definitely deserves. Whether it was building bridges, working on FPS or Venn diagrams, or simply getting us hooked on Jolly Ranchers as a reward for good work, Mrs. Russo had a way of getting the entire classroom excited to be learning. I have been fortunate enough to have a lot of great teachers over the years, but there has never been one who's class I so eagerly looked forward to than when we got to go out to her trailer twice a week. I'm sure she has received numerous awards and recognition over the years, and I cannot think of a more telling testament to her unmatched teaching abilities than that. She always brought fun and warmth with her into any classroom she entered, and I feel incredibly sad that future Simpson students won't know what it's like to have Kathy Russo as their teacher. She is the best teacher I've ever had.
Diane June 04, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Not only did Kathy's Junior Division team take 1st place at the State Future Problem Solving Bowl this year, but students she trained also took 1st place in the Team and Individual competitions in the Middle and Senior divisions too. On Thursday, 13 Norcross Cluster students head to Indiana to compete at the Future Problem Solving International Conference. As the parent of two High School students who count Kathy Russo as one of the most influential teachers they have had in their school careers, I am grateful for her ongoing commitment to her students' success. Kathy taught my girls how to think, not what to think. Those are lessons that will last a lifetime. How fortunate we are that teachers like Kathy Russo enrich our students with their talents and passion for education.
Jessie Wallace June 04, 2012 at 06:01 PM
I had Mrs. Russo in elementary school. She was a wonderful teacher and person and made me incredibly glad that I was gifted! She stuck with me when I couldn't figure out FPS, or anything else. It paid off; I was part of the Pinckneyville team that won state and went to the International Competition in Michigan on 2008! Thanks Mrs. Russo!

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