Tahoe-Truckee Teacher of the Year: Russell Resney is ninth and final finalist | SierraSun.com

Tahoe-Truckee Teacher of the Year: Russell Resney is ninth and final finalist

Katie Fagundes
Special to the Sun

From left, Michael Gelbman, publisher, Sierra Sun/North Lake Tahoe Bonanza; Leslie Hermann, Incline HS principal; Russell Resney, math/science teacher; Andrew Yoxsimer , Incline HS Site Administrator; and Charlie Riley, owner, Truckee Hometown SEARS, with Resney’s class.

Incline High School science and math teacher Russell Resney has been selected as the ninth Teacher of the Year finalist.

Resney was recognized for his dedication to students and staff at Incline High School.

"Mr. Resney stays late every day and arrives early every morning and he is always available to meet with his students and help them," wrote one parent nominator. "I have honestly never met a more dedicated teacher."

"Russell will stop whatever he is doing to help anyone who needs it," added Incline K-12 Principal Leslie Hermann.

Michael Gelbman, publisher of the Sierra Sun/Bonanza, and Charlie Riley, owner of Truckee Hometown Sears, presented Resney, this year's final nominee, with a certificate and award on May 22.

Resney is originally from southern California. He attended University of California Irvine and earned a bachelor's degree in Physics. After receiving his teaching credential from California State University Fullerton, Resney taught high school in Anaheim, Calif., and Arlington, Va.

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Having visited the Tahoe area for skiing and summer vacation as a child, Resney found it to be a very attractive place to live. He moved to the area and started teaching at Incline High School 16 years ago.

In his current position Resney teaches calculus, two different levels of physics, chemistry and algebra.

Nominators praised Resney for his knowledge and ability to share that knowledge of the various subjects he teaches.

"There is no doubt he has the ultimate command of the subject he is teaching and he can effectively teach it to his students," wrote one nominator.

"I have been in education for 33 years and have scarcely met a teacher of Russell's caliber," said Hermann. "He is extremely well versed in his content areas and is able to convey this in a way that makes sense to his students."

Resney took on additional classes this year when another teacher vacated a position. This left him teaching a different course each period of the day, without a period for preparation.

Parents and colleagues find his dedication evident in his acceptance of additional responsibilities, his invitation to work with any student who needs assistance outside of class hours, and his willingness to do so without complaint.

In addition to the courses he teaches, Resney is the department leader and serves as a liaison between the school district and Incline High School.

He is also the leader of his professional learning community, the coach of the Academic Olympic Team, and even helps with school scheduling.

Hermann points out that some of the duties Resney takes on are not an official part of his position, and that he does them just because of his dedication to the students.

Resney himself does not boast about the extra work he takes on, but instead focuses on the joy he finds in teaching.

Resney says he finds teaching to be fun. He enjoys assigning projects to students, particularly in physics class, that allow students to get out of their comfort zone.

He likes challenging students to innovate by creating items such as mouse trap cars and catapults. He strives to create new assignments that push students to come up with new ideas, and not rely on what others have done in the past.

"The fun moments are when students are in an active learning space," said Resney. "I like to see them processing."

Resney also enjoys working with an amazing staff of dedicated educators at Incline High School.

He praises the way his colleagues focus on the environment they create for students, and appreciates working with really committed teachers.

"They decide things first on how they effect students," said Resney. "The faculty is always interested in what is best for the kids."

Multiple parent nominators praised how available he makes himself to any student in need of help on campus. They note his extended hours on campus and his enthusiasm towards the subjects he teaches.

Resney is known for bringing material to life for his students and for using current events to bring relevance to the content they are learning.

Parents and colleagues are not only impressed with his command of his subject matter but with the passion he has toward it and his ability to transfer this passion onto his students.

"He creates success in his AP classes by teaching his students so effectively, that they are not only ready for the AP test, but also have a passion for the subject," wrote one nominator.

While it is the passion and excitement of students that keeps Resney having fun teaching, many would say this passion originated from him.

Resney's nomination comes as no surprise to the many students, parents and colleagues who have seen his passion and dedication for the past 16 years at Incline High School.

"It is amazing how many students say he is either their favorite teacher or the best teacher they have ever had," wrote one parent nominator.

About the award

Now in its fourth year, the Truckee Hometown-SEARS/Sierra Sun Teacher of the Year program was created in 2011 to recognize the efforts of community teachers across Truckee, North Tahoe and Incline Village.

In the coming weeks, the Sun-Bonanza will announce who among this year’s nine finalists is the 2015 winner. emal truckeetahoteacheroftheyear@gmail.com to learn more about the award.