Will the New Education Minister Change the System?

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Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Russell_web.jpg

Barely a week following the designation of a new Minister of Education, some members of the public are of the view  that the new administration will not be different to change the educational direction of the country.

However, others believe that the Ministry under Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Russell’s leadership will make a tremendous improvement—just as she transformed the Tubman University (TU) in Maryland County, over the past years.

Those views about the incoming administrative structure at the Ministry of Education (MOE) were made when this newspaper quizzed some members of the public, particularly those in Monrovia, following the pronouncement of Dr. Russell’s name by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as the Minister-designate for MOE.

Some of those interviewed told the Daily Observer that the administration of Dr.  Russell will not succeed “unless she approaches the job in the same way she effected reformation of TU to its present status.”

“Anything short of that, the education sector will continue to cry for improvement with regards to putting in place of quality education, mainly at the beginner’s level.

“We expect that she will constitute a reform and amid her visionary temperament she will bring to bear the same kind of institutionalized tendencies that were manifested in the efficient, mature and responsible, manner in which she ran Tubman University.  There,  she involved the ‘best brains’ that made her administration purposefully workable for the past six years.

Like the thinking of President Sirleaf, all other Liberians, including some of the educational partners, have perhaps placed their delicate confidence in Dr. Russell’s ability to lead the dawn of a new educational day in post-war Liberia.

Before coming to the MOE, Dr. Russell served the TU for several years, transforming it to be rated as one of the best run institutions of higher learning in the country.

Elizabeth Davis-Russell was born in Harper, Maryland County Liberia, to Former Supreme Court Associate Justice O. Natty B. Davis and Diana Dueh. She began her education at the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Day School in Harper, and then transferred to Cape Palmas High School where she completed the eighth grade. She attended Suehn Academy from where she graduated from high school. She continued her studies at London Tutorial College in the United Kingdom (UK), where she completed her ‘O’ Levels. She then went to the United States and attended Oakland University in Michigan where she completed a B.A. degree in Psychology in 1965. 

Dr. Russell was shortly thereafter accepted into New York University for graduate work. In 1966, she obtained an M.A. in Educational Psychology, following which she was accepted into Yeshiva University where in 1975, she obtained an EdD in Counseling Education.

Desirous of fulfilling her dream to become a psychologist, she then matriculated at New York University and completed a PhD in Clinical Psychology in 1987. Upon graduation, she pursued Post Graduate Training and received certification in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy at the Institute for the Study of Psychotherapy in New York, NY.

Dr. Russell is a licensed psychologist in the State of California, where she had a private practice in addition to her passion for the teaching in the profession.

In October 2007, Dr. Davis-Russell was appointed president for W.V.S. Tubman College of Technology in Harper, Liberia. She assumed leadership of the institution in July 2008. Prior to this position, she served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York College at Cortland. She has spent most of her career in higher education as a faculty member and then as an administrator.

Prior to her appointment as the Minister of Education, she served in several other capacities both in government and private sector, the latest being president of TU where the institution now witnessed tremendous transformation.

Dr. Davis-Russell is married to Thomas E. Russell. Their family includes daughter Dr. Allison Hader, son-in-law Dr. Daniel Hader, and son Scott Olie Russell.

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