Chris Albrecht passionately pursues teaching with his pupils and his peers

By on January 8, 2018
Chris Albrecht teaches at Hill School in the Brockport Central School District. He is the 2018 New York State Teacher of the Year. Photo by Dianne Hickerson

Chris Albrecht teaches at Hill School in the Brockport Central School District. He is the 2018 New York State Teacher of the Year. Photo by Dianne Hickerson

(To the reader: Chris Albrecht will be presenting “Star Struck in Brockport:  Lewis Swift, The Man Who Looked Up” at the Morgan-Manning House on January 11 at 7 p.m.  Swift was born in Clarkson in 1820 and became one of the most famous and world renown astronomers.

Albrecht, a Clarkson resident, teaches fourth grade in the BCSD Hill School.  He was designated the 2018 New York State Teacher of the Year.  For the press release about the January 11 event, I asked Albrecht for some personal background.  He provided extensive information about his teaching goals, family, science interest, and love for backcountry hiking.  Behind his passion for teaching — and being an ambassador to teachers with his state-wide honor — is the inspiration he has had from his school, his family, and this community.  I had to share his full, upbeat narrative.  – Doug Hickerson, contributing writer)

From Chris Albrecht

My interest in astronomer Lewis Swift came from my students. I do not have a passion for astronomy, but last year (and now this year), I have empowered passionate students to be part of their community. I found four students to help put this January 11 presentation together with my extensive guidance. I am very concerned that we need a stronger connection of students serving in our community through adult mentorships. So, I have decided to take one program per year and do it with BCS students. This year I have two students who are nine and two students who are 12 working with me. I have spent about 50 hours after school preparing this presentation with the kids. It would have taken me 20 hours, but the kids slow things down. This does not bother me. I know that I am helping prepare the next generation, so it is time well spent.

In terms of me… I was born in Fairport and have taught at the Hill School for 20 years. I have two graduates of BHS and my son (and final child) is a senior. I am a first generation American with a dad from Germany, and my mom’s father came from Italy. I lost my mom to cancer in February. I wear a ponytail to honor the fight against cancer. It is cut about every 18 months. I have been married for 23 years to my wife, Jennifer. My personal interest is in geology. I have been studying inclusions in amber stones for 25 years. I have one of the largest collections in the world. I have presented nationally on this topic. I also have a passion for backcountry hiking. I can go weeks without seeing a soul. I have seen some very interesting places in the US and Canada.

You mentioned that I am the 2018 New York State Teacher of the Year. This is true. I am fortunate to have an amazing school (Hill School). My principal, the teachers and the students inspire me. The families of Brockport inspire me. The university inspires me, and I have had an amazing life. I have a very supportive family. Therefore, I attribute this recognition as a “team win”. I am who I am because I have had great mentors, friends and work in a joyful environment. My wife lets me work late hours without protest.

The award is challenging. It is an ambassadorship. I have spoken to 17 groups since September. I have visited countless classrooms all over the state. I decided to take all of the money that was given to me and buy children’s books. I give them out when I do activities with classes that I visit. I have not kept a cent. I believe that we need to model citizenship more than ever, and service is a big part of that. My largest audience was in the Lake Placid hockey rink. I presented to 3,000 people at the NY School Boards Association Annual Meeting. I will be presenting to 5,000 people at the annual NYSUT meeting. I am a guest of the White House in April. Yes, I will meet the President. I will also be with the other 56 teachers of the year in California (January), Washington, DC (April), Huntsville, Alabama (July) and NJ in October. The experience is a lot of work, but I have had a great time working with people who love schools as much as I do.

(Note:  The press release about the January 11 program about astronomer Lewis Swift appeared in the December 24 Suburban News/Hamlin-Clarkson Herald. It’s on line at: http://www.westsidenewsny.com/features/2017-12-25/star-struck-in-brockport-lewis-swift-the-man-who-looked-up/ )

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