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Meet Schenectady's ‘Teacher of the Year’

Meet Schenectady's ‘Teacher of the Year’

Writing coach loves kids, teaching
Meet Schenectady's ‘Teacher of the Year’
Hamilton Elementary School instructior Kristin Munrett gets emotional after receiving a bouquet of flowers.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

Kristin Munrett was working with a group of third-graders Tuesday morning at Hamilton Elementary School when she received a surprise group of visitors: her husband, three children and Schenectady school Superintendent Larry Spring.

They had a message for mom: She was Schenectady’s “Teacher of the Year.”

Munrett, who has worked at Hamilton for 15 years, has played a special role for the past two years. She doesn’t have her own class – although she has taught in both second and fourth grades over the years. She works individually and in small groups of students as a writing coach singularly focused on improving students’ writing and literacy skills. She helps students in all grades in the school.

“I push into classes, I pull out of classes, I meet with teachers,” Munrett said of her work as a writing coach. “I work with the best teachers; every single teacher in Hamilton deserves this.”

Munrett is also a teacher of teachers, helping to develop lesson plans, monitor student progress and organize school events. She worked with some teachers from California on a program that incorporated writing rap lyrics into lessons on social studies and science. The students then had a rap battle at school. She also oversees plays, works as the student council faculty adviser and is the liaison with the Scotia Traveling Museum.  

“She’s pretty much a jack-of-all-trades, but everything she does revolves around moving students forward,” Hamilton Principal Michelle VanDerlinden said.

Eric Almond, who has been teaching for 30 years, just started working with Munrett earlier this school year when he moved to Hamilton. Munrett joined Almond in his second-grade class and immediately made a strong impression, he said, emphasizing her deft control of the classroom.

“You can just tell she has a love of teaching and a love of children,” Almond said. “You put those two together and it’s a winning combination.”

A panel of 8-year-olds agreed. Cutting each other off, the trio of students working alongside Munrett --  before they were interrupted by Spring and her family -- said she was a kind and helpful teacher.

“She’ll help us a lot with our work,” Arianna Liberatore said. “If we get stuck she will tell us and try to help us.”

“If we get a wrong word, she will tell us and what it is or help us pronounce it,” Zayvian Womack said.

“So we can get ready for fourth grade,” Giana DeLorenzo said.

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