Meet Allison Russo

From "Ready to Throw in the Towel" to "The Strategic Arts Educator"

When I first became a public school music teacher, I thought I was going to do that job forever. I loved it! I constantly couldn’t believe that I was being paid to do this work.

Then, during one of my graduate courses, I read Paulo Friere’s work on oppression in education and everything changed. I had thought that the way I had learned to teach was inherently good and beneficial for ALL students.

I suddenly had more questions than answers, and I quickly realized this job was HARD. Even though I gave it my all, it never felt good enough. The lack of resources and time was always lowering my impact with students. It all left me feeling unprepared, disrespected, and totally alone. I could feel burnout creeping in.

One summer, I took a leap out of the classroom and into the nonprofit world with a job at a music education non-profit and guess what? Now I could see even more gaps and issues in the arts education world.

That’s when that drive to understand how things work really kicked in. What are we really doing here? Who is this benefitting? Who gets a say in this? What do our students really need?

I started applying principles of educational psychology, critical pedagogy, and culturally responsive pedagogy to my work. And guess what? I saw more engagement, better retention, and better artistic, social, and emotional outcomes for my students.

If you’re ready to experience the same results as I did, I’d like to invite you to grab one of my free diversity & inclusion arts audits where together we’ll get clear on how to be more inclusive and engaging for all your arts students, uncover what’s standing in your way, and create a proven plan to help your arts students thrive.

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