Paper Napkin Interviews: Matt Russell

Q: What is your favorite part of working at Allen High School?

A: “Favorite part of working at Allen High School is being able to create opportunities for kids to start their life, to start their journey into adulthood.”


Q: What’s your favorite memory with students? 

A: “This is my 27th year as an educator, and so there are so many fun things. I mean, traveling with students is always one of my favorite things to do. I’ve been to New York with kids three different times. I’ve been to California with kids. Probably one of my favorite memories of traveling is traveling with the theater group. One time, back whenever I was a house principal, the two theater teachers had gone to check us into the hotel, and they asked me to stay out –we’re in a little park and I’m just right in front of the hotel–They asked me to stay out there with the students. And so, as I often am on my phone not paying attention, I look up and all the students are gone. They’re just gone. I’m like, ‘Wait, what?’ And I turn around, and every one of these little stinkers had lined up in a single file line behind me to hide from me, and they’re all back there just giggling and having a good time. ”


Q: What’s your favorite Allen High School tradition?

A: “There’s a lot of things that come to mind. One of my top five favorite things is watching the band come down the hall for pep rallies. That’s probably one of my favorites.”


Q: If you could have a song that plays every time you walk into a room, what would it be? 

A: “Gosh, I don’t even know. I mean, it kind of depends on my mood in the day. Probably something ridiculous like ‘Eye of the Tiger’ or what’s the song? ‘I will survive’”


Q: What do you want to be known or remembered for?

A: “That’s a good question. You know, I think if I could be remembered for being an advocate for students and for always doing my best to create a positive environment for kids, then I think I will have had a successful career.”


Q: What is your proudest moment as an educator?

A: “There’s probably not a single event because I’ve had a lot of things that have made me proud, but things like Eagle Give Day. That’s seriously something that I’m really proud of, how well students have responded to that, because that’s an opportunity to really make a difference in our community, you know, that’s a very proud moment. I think anytime our students have done something beyond themselves, like helping the community and stuff like that, those things make me very proud. But, yeah, I mean, probably the best short answer right now is Eagle Give Day. That’s a pretty cool deal.”


Q: Do you have any interesting or quirky facts that students would be surprised to know about you?

A: “This is probably not a well known fact, but growing up my parents were founding members of the southwestern donkey and mule society. I grew up showing donkeys as a small job, like halter class, riding, jumping. So, yes, that’s a little known fact about me.”