KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Russell C. Bennett, Dobyns-Bennett High School art teacher, was recently commissioned Kentucky Colonel by Governor Beshear of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
The commission of Kentucky Colonel is the highest title of honor bestowed by the Governor of Kentucky. It is recognition of an individual's noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to community, state, and nation. The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels is a voluntary philanthropic organization.
“Mr. Bennett is very deserving of this honor,” said Dr. Brian Tate, Dobyns-Bennett High School Principal. “We appreciate the love of art he instills in the students and his dedication to the teaching profession.”
According to his nomination letter, “Bennett created multiple school art programs from scratch, authored a Goals 2000 Grant, and regularly exhibits his students’ artworks…His students are often featured in local and regional exhibits. They have garnered awards, honors, and accolades from local art guilds and the United States House of Representatives.” He has also recently been “instrumental in an Alumni Legacy Gallery of student artwork for his high school.” Additionally, Bennett has served the “Department of Education for the State of Tennessee in visual art curriculum revisions, visual art standards development, and as a PRAXIS art content area consultant. Bennett conducts workshops and other learning opportunities at the local, state, and national levels for such organizations as National Art Education Association, Tennessee Art Education Association, and the Johnson City Area Arts Council. Teaching more than 6,000 students in his career, many of his former arts-focused students have become graphic designers, photographers, art educators, and animators.”
“I am moved by the generosity of my nominator (who wishes to remain anonymous) who offered my nomination ‘for being a great guy, loyal fan, and devoted educator throughout the years,” said Bennett. “My nomination focused on my efforts in the areas of art education, art advocacy, as an artist, and efforts in music preservation/ministry."
Bennett, commissioned a Kentucky Colonel on March 21, 2023, has been an art educator for 28 years; 23 of those years in Kingsport City Schools. He has spent the last 18 years at Dobyns-Bennett High School teaching visual art courses such as Honors and Advanced Placement Drawing, Art & Design, and Painting. Over his career, Bennett has served a 7-year term as Tennessee Art Education Association president, has been awarded Tennessee Outstanding Art Educator of the Year, Alabama Art Education Association's Distinguished Service Award, and the Arts Council of Greater Kingsport's Art Leadership Award. He has conducted workshops for art educators on local, state, and national levels, and has been involved in numerous art advocacy causes for more than 30 years. Bennett holds a Bachelor's degree in Art Education from East Tennessee State University.
When one is commissioned Colonel, they are a Kentucky Colonel for life.
For more information about the Kentucky Colonel award, click here.
Kingsport City Schools (KCS) is a public school district located in Kingsport, Tenn., serving students in Sullivan and Hawkins county. The district is comprised of 13 schools, including a Pre-K, eight elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school, a high school program of choice, and an alternative learning program; with a total enrollment of over 7,900 students. The vision of Kingsport City Schools is to Inspire. Cultivate. Impact.
KCS has been ranked the "#1 Best Place to Teach in Tennessee" by the 2023 NICHE Best Schools Ranking and the City of Kingsport has been voted as the "Nicest Places in America" in the October 2022 Reader's Digest.
For more information visit www.k12k.com, listen live on WCSK 90.3 FM, The Voice of KCS, or call the KCS Administrative Support Center at (423) 378.2100. We’re social too; follow us on Facebook (kcsdistrict), Instagram (kcs__district), Twitter (@kcs__district), LinkedIn (kcsdistrict), and check out our YouTube Channel (@kcs__district).