One In A Million: February 2023 – Black History Month Spotlight: Russell Scott


Grade you teach: Grades 9 thru 12th

How long have you been a teacher? 26 years in the Arizona education system, and 16th year as a teacher at CHS!

What made you get into the teaching profession?

A gentleman named Chris Knutsen (Assistant Principal at Chandler at the time) said I should take my (football) coaching philosophy into the classroom, specifically Chandler High School. He believed I could make a difference in special education, so in 2006 I started teaching.

Who was your most inspirational teacher and why?

Dr. Steve Lunt (Southern Utah University)- He taught me “In Loco Parentis” which translates to “in place of the parent.” While still maintaining the ethics of teacher – student , coach – player – relationship, with class and dignity it deserves.

What “fills your cup” when you’re running on empty?

Falling forward on the thoughts, words, actions, habits, and character of my destiny. My faith, my family, my best friends, students and student – athletes (past and present), who keep me grounded and inspired to be the best version of myself. Iron sharpening Iron and Mamba Mentality!

What is your wish for Arizona’s children?

My wish is that Arizona’s children live their life’s blueprint. Not in the insignificant thoughts, words, and opinions of other people, but in the significance of their true self-worth, and that of their supporting cast. To hold their visions, trust the process, and be relentless.

What does being selected as a Million Dollar Teacher Project Black History Month spotlight teacher mean to you?

Humbling down to my bone marrow! The shadows I stand under are pillars of present and historic women and men of dignity and greatness. Most of them go unrecognized. We don’t know all of their names. Yet they ALL fought or are fighting for the cause of freedom and equality,

justice and righteousness. I am forever indebted. But it really means I am called today…to do more work.

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Growing the Tree

Million Dollar Teacher Tree was first developed in a classroom by students in a program called, Next Generation Service Corps at Arizona State University in December of 2017. These students were tasked by Lloyd Hopkins, founder of Million Dollar Teacher project with developing a project that can potentially become an integral part in helping MDTP achieve its mission. The group eventually developed the original prototype for Million Dollar Teacher Tree—a cutout dollar sign that would be placed in surrounding businesses near the partner school. The idea was pitched to staff members of MDTP during the last of their class, and the project was picked up by MDTP as a new pilot program for the organization. After many months of planning, the prototype was eventually revamped into what it is today, Million Dollar Teacher Tree.

Golden Apple

These apples are intended to provide any sort of Professional Development which, in turn, gifts them with key knowledge to add to their personal skill-set to better work with their students.

As educators, teachers are constantly looking to continually grow in their profession to not only learn how to better connect with their students, but to also make the learning experience much more exciting.

Suggested donation amount range: $10 – $100

Red Apple

These apples are designed to provide the typical day-to-day items in the classroom. Teachers spend can spend upwards of $1,000 out of pocket to have enough supplies yearlong for their students– to alleviate this, the Red Apples were created.

Everyday school supplies include; pencils, notebooks, crayons, hand sanitizer, etc.

Green Apple

These apples are intended to provide a big-ticket item for the teachers. These supplies are typically something that the teachers can use for more than one school year.

Examples include; a class-set of computers or new furniture for the classroom.

Suggested donation amount: $500+