Marie Gannon Russell
Associate Program Chair - Early Childhood and Child Studies
Office: North Hall, Room 214
Marie Gannon Russell earned a Master of Science degree in Reading with distinction from Southern Connecticut State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, with a minor in Theatre and dual concentrations in Early Childhood Education and Inner City Education from Central Connecticut State University. Her master’s thesis was titled “Environmental Conditions and Interactions that Support Literacy Development of Gifted Toddlers and Preschoolers”.
She holds State of Connecticut Teacher Certification for PreK- Grade Eight.
Marie has taught at Post University since 2010. She created a Child Studies Seminar course and specializes in Children's Literature.
Marie was part time faculty at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT for five years. She taught graduate education courses and wrote the Reading and Writing across the Curriculum course.
Throughout her 30 year career, Marie has taught on all levels; PreK, Elementary, Middle, and High School, as well as college in a broad spectrum of educational environments.
Marie brings vision and rich teaching and program leadership experience to her role of Associate Academic Program Manager of Early Childhood Education and Child Studies. Informed by the knowledge that educators are positioned to have profound impact on individual lives and on society as a whole, throughout her career, Marie has had a triple focus on 1) improving teacher preparation of early childhood educators, 2) supporting development of early reading skills, and 3) advocating for educational equity.
At a time when nursery school and daycare were largely synonymous with babysitting, Marie understood the need for elevating the quality of education for young children. To that end, she took additional undergraduate courses to complete a concentration in Early Childhood as part of her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education thereby qualifying for a less common teaching endorsement that included PreK-Grade 8. Inspired by the social reform movements of the day, Marie sought opportunity to work to advance educational equity. This led her to earn a second concentration in Inner City Education by studying urban issues and volunteering and teaching in underfunded schools in blighted inner cities. Marie earned a Master’s in Reading because she believes literacy skills are key to educational success and essential for working for equality.
Marie had the chance to change course to bring her focus areas together when she directed a federal Early Reading First grant whose mandate was to support development of preschool centers of excellence focusing “…especially on the early language, cognitive, and pre-reading skills that prepare children for continued school success and that serve primarily children from low-income families.”
Serving as the director a Department of Public Health grant designed to find solutions for preventing childhood obesity proved to be another valuable opportunity for Marie to work to improve outcomes for children. She oversaw teacher-training and school-wide implementation in targeted rural and urban schools where low-income families are disproportionally affected.
Prior to assuming her current position, Marie was an Academic Advisor at Post for seven years. During that time she taught child studies classes and was on the Child Studies Executive Board.
The desire to help students succeed is what brought her back to academia. Marie is excited about the future of the early childhood profession and the direction in which the programs at Post are headed. She has seen how technology, online tools and resources can help spread information, support learning and create equality. Focusing on her professional goals is a work in progress for Marie as she is a lifelong educator and activist.
One of Marie's guiding life principles is adopted from Eleanor Roosevelt’s directive, "To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart."
Marie has strived throughout her career to provide the positive learning experiences that can lead to a love of learning. Marie believes true leaders can be developed through the encouragement of each student's individual passion. She believes in utilizing the wealth of ever-developing instructional technology and research-based strategies for the development of competent, successful citizens.
Marie enjoys the arts- visiting museums, live music and creating art works in various media.
Professional and community activities
Marie is a long-standing member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the International Reading Association. She has held services positions in the past including: Governors Appointee, Task Force on Woman’s Issues; Executive Board, Woman in Leadership, Meriden, CT YWCA; Executive Board, New England Transfer Association
Marie was honored by the Wallingford Education Foundation in 2015 with their “Alumni Award” for outstanding contributions to the field of education. Other awards she has received are “Outstanding Young Woman”;” Who’s Who among American Women”; “John F. Kennedy Service Award”; and the Wallingford Junior Woman’s Club “Jane Sullivan Service Award”.
(2013). "Using Digital Tools to Enhance Literacy Competencies for Educators" NAEYC Annual Conference & Expo, Washington, DC.
(2009). Preliminary Findings on Effects of Four Obesity Prevention Curriculum. Documentary, Weitzman Symposium, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT
(2009). Facilitated Childhood Obesity Epidemic, State Capitol, Hartford, CT
(2009). Food & Fitness, Educational Disparities Conference, UCONN, Storrs, CT
(2008). Curriculum Resources. Focus Group (NAEYC) Annual Conference, IL
(2006). Reading First CHILD Conference, Essex Community College, Haverhill, MA
(2005). Online Course Delivery, NETA Annual Conference, Newport RI
(2004). Transfer Energy, Student Retention NETA Annual Conference, Newport RI