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Jonathan Russom

Facilitator & Curriculum Developer

Jonathan is a Facilitator and Curriculum Developer at L4L, where he’s thriving through the integration of his passion for liberation, his instructional expertise, and his talent for clear articulation and synthesis.

Jonathan is a public educator of almost 20 years in Memphis and then Chicago, where he taught intermediate grades reading in the North Lawndale neighborhood. The majority of his teaching career was with KIPP Chicago Schools, where he had the honor of working closely with over four hundred students and families. With the support of students, families, and KIPP colleagues, he became not only an expert reading instructor but also a creator of loving, celebratory, relationship-based classroom environments and learning experiences. He later became Managing Director of Talent for the network of 8 schools and led a shift in hiring values and practices that moved them substantially toward diversity, equity, and inclusion in their staff composition and culture. He left KIPP Chicago in early 2021 and began work as a freelance consultant. He holds a BA in Anthropology/Sociology from Rhodes College and an MA in Teaching from Christian Brothers University.

Jonathan was born a queer kid with a big heart in a fundamentalist Christian environment. He quickly denied as much of his nature as he could and actively exploited the white and male privileges he could access for “success.” He survived multiple violent traumas and deaths in his immediate family in his early adulthood but insisted on continued pursuit of accomplishment. Ultimately, addiction gave him the opportunity to pause and re-evaluate. He’s learning to listen to and follow his big heart, prioritize his health, ask for help, align his choices with his values, pleasures, and talents, and support many others in making similar shifts. He now understands himself to be on a journey of liberating his body and the bodies he shares with others – relationships, lineages, communities, locations, histories, and our Earth. He enjoys singing and dancing, hiking, camping, and all kinds of frolicking outside of built environments. He works frequently with plants, animals, fungi, yeasts, and bacteria to make medicine and food. Jonathan cherishes the company of those he loves, practicing ritual, and exploring a life free of consumption, in community, and in humble reciprocity with the nonhuman world.

Jonathan Russom
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