The NCC’s Cyber Education Program provides cybersecurity leadership, with two main pillars: K-12 education with the NCC Student Alliance, and the Cyber Force Initiative (Adult Education). As our nation addresses the critical gap in skilled cybersecurity talent, NCC addresses the importance of cyber education through programs and partnerships that invite students to participate in an ecosystem which encourages them to learn, explore, and build their skills.
Meet Your Cyber Education Team
Thomas Russell is the Director of Cyber Education for the National Cybersecurity Center. He is an army veteran who worked in the signal corps. His background also includes a master’s degree in education for Applied Technology from the College of Saint Rose and a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Management, and an Associate degree in Network Security from Colorado Technical University.
As a teacher at Falcon High School, Thomas taught many classes such as Cybersecurity, Computer Applications, Networking, Technology Literacy, Health and Information Technology, Information Security, and Computer Forensics.
Thomas is a certified teacher for Career and Technical Education, Instructional Technology, and STEM, and has won the Boettcher Foundation Teacher Recognition Award, the Falcon Educational Foundation’s Outstanding Teacher Award, the District 49 Teacher of the Year Award, and has been nominated for Colorado Teacher of the Year.
As the Cyber Education Program Manager for the Student Alliance, his responsibilities include:
- Running cybersecurity summer camps.
- Providing education and certification training for K-12 and adults.
- Organizing cyber events such as capture the flag competitions.
- Training teachers to teach cybersecurity.
- Forging relationships between businesses and educational institutions.
- Providing training and curriculum to teachers for K-12.
In 2020, Thomas was awarded the Cyber Education Administrator of the Year by the EdCenter. He was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate for Cyber Education by the Denver Institute for Urban Studies. In 2021, Thomas won the National Center for Women in Computing (NCWIT) Educator Award and ten of Thomas’s girl students have won the Aspirations In Computing Award. His most recent book is Binary Society, a book of essays on the effects of technology on society.
Dr. Rachel Gardner
Dr. Gardner holds a B.A. in English from Reed College and Ph.D in Comparative Literature (Continental Philosophy) from Emory University where she was honored as a Robert W. Woodruff Fellow. She has presented her work both internationally and nationally, most recently at the MLA and ACLA annual meetings.
To the NCC, she brings a deep commitment to increasing access to education and a passion for genuine interdisciplinarity. She has taught in a variety of different contexts, including in Emory University’s Department of Comparative Literature, the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship, Lee Arrdenale State Prison, Buena Vista Correctional Center, and the Balata Refugee Camp. Her pedagogical excellence has been recognized both by a Dean’s Teaching Fellowship and several faculty development and excellence grants.