Teacher of the Year Albrecht calls for emphasis on charity

by Cathy Woodruff

On Board Online • October 23, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

New York's Teacher of the Year invited school board members and administrators at NYSSBA's 98th Annual Convention and Education Expo to join him in a campaign to show students the importance of charity and community service.

Brockport fourth grade teacher Christopher Albrecht noted that he received three financial awards (totaling $1,100) as part of the statewide honor announced in September.

"I plan to keep none of it," he said. Instead, using bulk ordering discounts available to educators, he expects to purchase at least 1,300 books to give to students. He will travel to classrooms throughout the state to deliver the books and read to children.

"A world without charity is a hollow place," Albrecht told convention attendees during an opening ceremony in Lake Placid that included awards and a keynote address by education professor Yong Zhao.

About 2,600 people, mostly school board members and superintendents, attended the Convention and Education Expo, where about 100 educational seminars were held on subjects including helping immigrant children, mental health, communications, law and rural schools.

"We become a united school system when we care about and serve everyone around us," Albrecht said in the kickoff to the Convention. "We need to work harder than ever to preserve the bonds of charity, generosity and gratitude that glue our community together."

He added that in most communities, school board members exemplify those values.

"Being a member of a school board is a challenge," he said. "You are doing it for the noblest of reasons. You believe that you can offer leadership that ultimately will provide the best possible education for the students that are served in your district."

He appealed to board members to embrace their role and have confidence in their cause.

"You are making a difference in this world," he said.

Earlier in the day, Albrecht visited Lake Placid elementary school students with Brockport School Board President Lisa Ireland to read to the students and present the first of hundreds of books he hopes to give away during his tenure as teacher of the year.

He read from the opening chapters of two favorites, Beverly Cleary's Runaway Ralph and 2013 Newbery Medal winner The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. Students were given their own copies on one condition: that they promise to finish the books.

It was the first time that NYSSBA's Annual Convention was held in Lake Placid, where flooring was laid over Olympic skating rinks to host presentations by the commissioner of education, the Annual Business Meeting and a trade show.

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

"A truly exceptional conference," Skaneateles Superintendent Kenneth Slentz said in an e-mail, citing "the quality, timeliness and delivery of the sessions."

He added: "I can't be more genuine in congratulating the whole NYSSBA team for providing a conference that was uncannily connected to the pulse of the field ... Not certain that I have ever given a conference an A+, but you all certainly earned that grade."

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