Brockport elementary school teacher honored as 2019 Hall of Famer

By on March 25, 2019
Christopher Albrecht giving words of wisdom to the fourth grade spelling bee finalists.

Christopher Albrecht giving words of wisdom to the fourth grade spelling bee finalists.

Excitement was in the air at Fred W. Hill School in Brockport, on the morning of Wednesday, March 20, as students and staff gathered in the school auditorium for the annual fourth-grade spelling bee. At the conclusion of the event, an official announcement was made. Christopher Albrecht, one of Brockport Central Schools’ distinguished career teachers will receive another award, induction into The National Teachers Hall of Fame.

Albrecht is a fourth-grade teacher and has been on the Hill School faculty since 1998. He previously taught for three years in Martinsville, West Virginia, for a total of 23 years in kindergarten through 12 classrooms. Albrecht started the spelling bee 19 years ago at the request of a student. “The spelling bee has become much bigger than a spelling bee,” said Albrecht. “It is more of an opportunity for highly talented students to feel competitive pressure in a safe environment where they are nurtured through success and disappointment. The spelling bee prepares our students for life’s challenges.” It was only fitting that the surprise announcement of Albrecht’s award was done following this special event.

Richard Ognibene, 2015 Hall of Famer and Fairport High School teacher, was the Hall of Fame representative who announced Albrecht’s induction. Family, friends, colleagues and students in attendance paid tribute to the newest member of the Hall of Fame.

The National Teachers Hall of Fame, located in Emporia, Kansas, will be inducting the Class of 2019 on June 21. The five recognized teachers will meet in Emporia for a week of professional development and a celebration of teaching. Albrecht will meet his four other “classmates” in May when the National Education Association will honor them at a special meeting with the Executive Board at their headquarters in Washington DC. An appearance on National Public Radio and meetings with political and government officials will also take place. Surprise announcements will be made over the next two weeks in Nevada, Kansas, Florida, and Connecticut in addition to this one in New York. The surprise announcements in the teachers’ schools or districts allow everyone to be a part of the celebration and shine the spotlight on these five outstanding career teachers.

The teachers selected must have a minimum of twenty years of full-time teaching in pre-K through 12th grade classrooms and have submitted a rigorous nomination packet, recommendation letters, and video. A national selection committee, with representatives from education organizations and corporate partners, met to select the inductees in February. The five inductees for this year have a combined total of 132 years of teaching experience.

Albrecht was nominated by his friend and fellow State Teacher of the Year, Ognibene, so it was meaningful that the announcement came from the nominator. In his nomination letter, Ognibene wrote: “Chris is a remarkable teacher and a remarkable human being. He represents all that is best about teaching and learning. I have seen him speak to thousands of teachers from a stage and read to dozens of kids from a classroom floor. In each case, I felt inspired.”

Brandon Broughton, Fred W. Hill School Principal, describes Albrecht as worthy of being recognized as a Hall of Famer: “Mr. Albrecht is as dedicated an educator as you will ever meet. He is an inspiring teacher with a long-standing reputation for his exceptional ability to connect with kids and deliver content in a way that resonates with all of his students.”

A former student, Benjamin Olson who is now a US Marine Corps Sergeant, wrote: “There is a leadership principle in the Marine Corps — ‘Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.’ I learned this long ago in Mr. Albrecht’s class. Even now, twelve years after leaving his class, he still keeps in touch with me through phone calls, emails and text messages. This past deployment, his entire class wrote letters back and forth to the Marines in my platoon. My years with Mr. Albrecht built the foundation of the man I am today.”

Albrecht is a member of NYSUT, AFT, NEA, Brockport Teachers Association, is a Smithsonian Institution volunteer, serves on the New York State Commissioner’s Advisory Council, is a Relay for Life team member, and a former Boy Scout Leader. He recently received the NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence and served as the 2018 New York State Teacher of the Year.

Albrecht is a member of the 28th class of inductees, which, when added in June, will bring the total induction count to 140. He is the tenth teacher from New York inducted, joining Stewart Bogdanoff (1993), Ross Burkhardt (1998), Thomas Porton (1995), George Wolfe (2004), Floyd Holt (2006), Marguerite Izzo (2014), Dr. Patricia Jordan (2015), Richard Ognibene (2015), and Ashli Skura Dreher (2017).

Provided information and photos

Brockport Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small, Richard Ognibene (2015 Hall of Fame), Christopher Albrecht and Hill Principal Brandon Broughton.

Brockport Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small, Richard Ognibene (2015 Hall of Fame), Christopher Albrecht and Hill Principal Brandon Broughton.