Mrs. Theresa Jenkins-Russ is a professional violinist in classical and alternative styles and an educator and conductor. A native New Yorker, Mrs. Jenkins-Russ received her B.A. in Violin Performance from Wheaton College in 1985. While there, she had the opportunity to study violin with Nancy Cirillo at New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. In 1987, she earned her M.S. in Music Education from Long Island University in New York. She then went on to Hofstra University to take course work for a Doctorate in Educational Administration. In 2012, Mrs. Jenkins-Russ completed course work through Converse College for a Certificate of Secondary Educational Administration.
Mrs. Jenkins-Russ’s teaching career began in 1987, when she began to substitute and teach high school and middle school orchestra in several Long Island school districts. From 1993-2003, she taught orchestra in Arlington, Virginia, public schools. While in Arlington, she was appointed orchestra coordinator for her pyramid and also conducted the Arlington High School Honors Orchestra, which frequently performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. While in Boston, New York, and Virginia, Mrs. Jenkins-Russ performed with several professional orchestras, including the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic, the Pan-American Symphony, the Nassau Pops Orchestra, the South Shore Symphony, the West Islip Chamber Orchestra, and the Brockton Symphony. In 1993, Mrs. Jenkins-Russ was able to develop her string jazz skills, taking lessons from David Balakrishnan and members of the Turtle Island Quartet, Dr. Billy Taylor, and Mr. John Blake, Jr.
In 2003, Mrs. Jenkins-Russ joined the Spartanburg School District 7 Orchestra staff. Currently, she teaches at Cleveland, Chapman, Houston, and Mary H. Wright Elementary schools as well as Carver Middle School. She has also taught at Spartanburg High School (where she directed the Chamber Honors Orchestra) and Whitlock Junior High; groups she directed in these schools received consistent ratings of Superior and Excellent at Concert Festival.
Mrs. Jenkins-Russ has held positions in the professional music community, including being President of the SC American String Teachers Association (ASTA) from 2010-2012 and serving on its Board of Directors from 2006-2014; she currently serves as Southeast Representative for NS Design Electric Instruments. In 2012 she was chosen to conduct the Region 2 (Greenville) 7th-9th-grade SCMEA Region Orchestra. In addition, Mrs. Jenkins-Russ has written articles for national publications including Strings magazine, International Association for Jazz Education publications, AST (American String Teacher Journal), and the SC ASTA Newsletter, of which she was the editor. In 2006, Mrs. Jenkins-Russ put together and directed the professional group The Carolina Cool Jazz Orchestra, which consisted of professional musicians from North and South Carolina. The group brought in guest solo and recording artists to perform with them at local venues like the Chapman Cultural Center, Twichell Auditorium, and Charlotte’s Blumenthal Performing Arts Center; the group also has several DVDs available.
Mrs. Jenkins-Russ lives in Spartanburg with her husband Leon and their two dogs. She maintains a private studio teaching classical and contemporary music to violin, viola, and cello students eighth grade through adult.