Former Fairfax City schools superintendent dies at 83

Robert C. Russell, a former Fairfax County music teacher and principal who served as the superintendent of Fairfax City public schools from 1984 to 1995, died June 2 in Elkins, W.Va. He was 83. Fairfax City Public Schools announced the death in a statement.

Mr. Russell began his teaching career in Fairfax County in 1955 after service in the Air Force stationed in the District, where he performed as a tenor soloist with the Singing Sergeants and played bagpipes with the band.

He was a music teacher at Fairfax High School until 1960 when he joined the administration of what is now Lanier Middle School. He served as principal of Lanier from 1962 to 1972, and briefly served as principal at Fairfax High before he became principal at Robinson Secondary in 1973. He frequently rode his Honda Gold Wing motorcycle to school in the mornings. After 11 years as principal at Robinson, Mr. Russell was tapped to lead Fairfax City public schools.

Shortly after his retirement, the Fairfax City school board voted to name the theater at Lanier Middle in his honor the Robert C. Russell auditorium.

Robert Cecil Russell was born June 6, 1929, in Elkins. He was a 1951 graduate of West Virginia University. He received a master’s degree in education from American University in 1962.

Donations can be made in his honor to the Fairfax Rotary Educational Fund, which provides scholarships to to students at Fairfax High School.

T. Rees Shapiro is an education reporter.
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