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Shirley Russak Russak Wachtel Edit Profile

educator , writer

Shirley Russak Wachtel is an American English language educator and writer.


Mrs. Russak Wachtel was born on August 23, 1951, in Brooklyn, New York, United States. She is a daughter of Charles (a store owner) and Betty (Weisstuch) Russak.


In 1973 Shirley Wachtel received Bachelor of Arts (magna cum laude) from Brooklyn College. In 1976 she obtained Master of Arts from Long Island University. She did further graduate studies at Rutgers University. In 2002 she earned Doctor of Letters from Drew University.


Between 1976 and 1977 Mrs. Wachtel worked as a managing editor for Brooklyn Graphic News. She occupied the position of a teacher of English at Madison High School from 1977 to 1980. Mrs. Wachtel was a freelance writer for Staten Island Advance, Staten Island, in 1980-1987. Mrs. Wachtel worked as a newspaper freelancer at Brooklyn Times during the same period of time.

From 1981 till 1983 Shirley Wachtel served as a newspaper columnist for Brooklyn Times. She was a creative partner of Ad Ventures Associate, Staten Island, during 1985-1988. Later she joined the staff of Middlesex County College, Edison, New Jersey, acting as an assistant professor in 1988-1997, associate professor, 1997-2003, and professor since 2003.

Now she serves as a freelance professional speech and verse writer. She is the author of column "Breathing Room," Brooklyn Times. She has published articles in various newspapers, including The Star (Middlesex County, NJ), Staten Island Advance, and Courier-Life Publications (Brooklyn, NY). She contributed poems and short stories to riverrun and published an essay in College English Notes.


  • Shirley Wachtel is a distinguished author of a number of books of poems, several short stories and also children’s books.


Quotations: "Next to my family, my greatest passion is writing. And although I try to avoid the ‘work’ of this endeavor, I find the addiction one which I can rarely resist. Since age eight, when I composed a pamphlet of verse, and later at age twelve when a girlfriend and I toiled over ‘The Mystery of the Three Red Gowns,’ I’ve considered myself a writer. Whenever the muse strikes, I answer its call, on notepads just before bedtime or during breaks between classes. My subjects are varied, but usually stem from the inquisitive nature of my children or the unwavering endurance of individuals, like my parents, who survived the Holocaust. No matter what, I still believe in the triumph of the human spirit."


  • National Council of Teachers of English , United States

  • New Jersey Association for Developmental Education , United States

  • New Jersey College English Association , United States

  • New Jersey Consortium for College Placement , United States

  • Mid-Atlantic Community College Reading Association , United States


  • Other Interests

    reading (novels from Amy Tan to the Brontes), walking, classical music, touring


Shirley Wachtel married Arthur Wachtel, a guidance counselor and sports coach, on November 17, 1973. They have three children: Howard, Brad, Charles.

Charles Russak - American

Betty (Weisstuch) Russak - American

Howard Wachtel - American

Brad Wachtel - American

Charles Wachtel - American

Arthur David Wachtel - American - Counselor , sports coach