Russell is principal of Pt England School, in Tamaki, Auckland. He began his teaching career in this community, before going offshore with his wife Dorothy, also an educator, and working in schools in Papua New Guinea. They returned home and worked in Otara, before re-settling in Tamaki at the beginning of 1991. Russell's adult life has been spent working with Maori and Pasifika children and families through school and community. Russell has worked with the NZ Ministry of Education to assist with the provision of quality staff for NZ schools and in the development of schooling improvement for low decile schools as well as working with Digital Learning development from the mid 90's. Pt England School has a national and international reputation for innovative work accelerating achievement of Maori & Pasifika Learners using the affordances of digital learning & teaching to make learning visible for children and their families, whilst affording higher cognitive engagement.
As principal of Pt England School which has been the lead school of a number of schooling consortia over time, Russell holds the convening role in the Manaiakalani Community of Learning, or Kahui Ako, which is committed to growing equity and citizenship for children and families in the Tamaki Community and other like communities. In this role he has worked to develop a new kind of community, commercial, philanthropic, government and NGO partnership to help resource the delivery of high quality education in this and other low socio economic and remote communities.
Russell is a long term member of the Pt England Community and is involved in other community capacity building activities through community organisations outside of school. He has been an educator for 38 years.