Courthney Russell Jr. is the residential life program coordinator here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, tasked with the responsibility of fostering a safe and secure environment within our on-campus community.
Born in Fort Knox, Ky., Courthney lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands for a time, and eventually moved to East Atlanta, Ga., an underserved community devoid of many of the services found in more well-funded communities. He attended Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala., and received his medical degree in 2011 from Windsor University School of Medicine on Saint Kitts Island in the Caribbean.
It was while taking classes at medical school that Courthney made the decision to dedicate his life to humanity — to help neighborhoods like the one he grew up in. He says by leveraging his medical knowledge in a non-traditional way to become what he calls “an authentic, determined, humble leader by example,” he is doing his part (while helping others) to make the world, one neighborhood at a time, a better place to live.
Courthney joined the Eagle Rock community in 2014 as our community advocate and student support consultant and was promoted to his current role in Residential Life four years later. We recently sat down with him to learn more about his past, his thoughts on Eagle Rock and his interests.
Here’s what Courthney had to say:
Eagle Rock: What exactly is it that you do at Eagle Rock?
Courthney Russell Jr: As residential life program coordinator, I work with students and staff during non-instructional times to create activities and systems that foster a safe and secure environment. By doing so, students are better equipped for the stressors of the classroom, and the staff is in a better position to offer their best to our students.
Eagle Rock: What did you do for work before arriving at Eagle Rock?
Courthney: Upon graduating from medical school, I decided to leverage my medical knowledge in a unique way. Along with a business partner, we created two companies with the focus of ending poverty. The for-profit company, WeUp CBO, offers solutions to issues plaguing every marginalized community, working toward financial freedom and addressing substandard education. Our nonprofit company— Atlanta Awareness for Homeless Health, (A2H2) — addresses poverty by offering primary care and ambulatory medical services to the vulnerable, noninsured, and underinsured.
Eagle Rock: What is your favorite Eagle Rock School success story?
Courthney: During my time at Eagle Rock, I have been blessed with the opportunity to see many students graduate. Many of the students never thought of graduation as a reality that they would ever experience. My favorite “success story” is rewritten at every graduation that I am blessed to attend. Knowing that I had a role in the lives of each “beautiful soul” continues to motivate me.
Eagle Rock: Tell us about your hobbies or interests outside of work?
Courthney: Believe it or not, my hobby is being informed on medicine and politics through media (TV news and publications). I will forever be looking for creatives ways to “save lives.” Outside of work I stay balanced by spending time with my beautiful wife.
Eagle Rock: What reality television show would you like to be on and why would you win or be the first person kicked off?
Courthney: Honestly, I have never had a desire to be on a reality TV show. I would love to create one where our specific goal is to show the humanity that can exist in every community and the love that can be uncovered when hopelessness and poverty is addressed with respect and dignity.
Eagle Rock: What’s something most people would be surprised to know about you?
Courthney: I was homeless for a span of time while attending medical school.