Marlon Mussington ’01

Responsive in the Classroom and in the Community

In 2001, Marlon Mussington won the Harvey Robert Turner Award for Outstanding Service to the URI Black Community. Since then, he has continued to assist minorities with their educational endeavors.

After graduation, Mussington worked as an academic coach for the National Football Foundation’s Play It Smart Program that is “designed to place coaches with student-athletes to help improve grades, assist with the college application process, and teach life skills.”

Dedicated to these ideals of bettering students’ lives, Mussington, a communications and psychology major, earned a teaching certificate for physical education and joined the faculty of the Paul Cuffee Charter School. Mussington instructs students who live in Providence’s diverse neighborhoods: “One of the things that attracted me to Paul Cuffee was their focus on community. The school continues to work tirelessly in creating a community of compassion, respect, empathy, and understanding.”

This philosophy is reflected in the school’s Responsive Classroom, an instructional approach designed to foster respectful interaction: “It works well in my classes because it allows students to feel safe. It gives them a voice. Positive language is one of the keys to the success of my classes. Responsive Classroom is a part of that.”

Also contributing to Mussington’s success is his emphasis on developing “exciting activities that keep students engaged.” Mussington achieves this goal partly by teaching students Sport Stacking, a competition that involves quickly stacking specialized plastic cups in specific sequences. The sport requires laser-sharp focus and expert hand-eye coordination, both of which his students excelled at during the Connecticut State Sport Stacking Championships held in December. Three students set new Rhode Island state records for individual divisions.

Whether promoting the importance of community or the benefits of physical activity, Mussington is fulfilling his dream: “Working with teenagers through the National Football Foundation and working with children of all ages as director of Providence’s East Side YMCA contributed greatly to my decision to teach.”

—Maria V. Caliri ’86, M.B.A. ’92