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Genesee Community Charter School’s Chris Dolgos Receives 2016 Klingenstein Teacher Award

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    Alexis Margolin

Chris Dolgos, sixth-grade teacher and founding staff member of Genesee Community Charter School in Rochester, NY, has been named the 2016 recipient of the Klingenstein Teacher Award.


On October 27th, Chris joined Lee Klingenstein, our Founding Board Chair, on stage at the EL Education 2016 National Conference in Detroit to accept the award along with a $5,000 prize and an invitation to lead a Master Class at our 2017 National Conference. 

In accepting the honor, Chris had some inspiring words to share with an eager audience of 1000+ educators and school leaders: 

"I am proud to be an EL Education teacher - proud to be part of a network that empowers teachers and honors the work of students and honors the idea that students can do more than they think is possible. What a disruptive idea. For too long, school was something that was “done to kids” rather than having kids be leaders of their own learning. EL teachers like us have changed that notion and we are helping thousands of kids realize that their voices deserve to be heard, that they, too, have choice and agency, and that they can be the change they want to see in the world. 
“Another thing that sets EL teachers apart is our relentless focus on character. Whether you call them habits of work and learning or 21st century or “soft” skills, these dispositions are what our students leave our schools holding on to, woven, we hope, into their moral fiber. Pride of work. Courage in their resolve. Empathy and caring towards those who need it most. Responsibility to their crew and community. These skills don’t often translate well on a bubble sheet or on a data wall - but every one of us knows that the young men and women we are teaching today deserve to be recognized as more than a test score, more than a dot on a graph. Knowledge matters - but so does heart.

Each year, an outstanding member of the EL Education community is selected by a committee of peers to receive the Klingenstein Teacher Award. Honorees exemplify the spirit and values of EL Education. 

In accepting this award, Chris reaffirms his commitment to build exemplary character, drive outstanding academic achievement, and instill an ethic of “citizen scholarship” as an EL Education teacher. Principal Lisa Wing of Genesee Community Charter School, herself a past recipient of the Silverberg Leadership Award, had this to say of our 2016 awardee: 

“If he can dream it, he will tackle it. He wants every child to have it all.” 

Educators nominated for the Klingenstein Teacher Award must: 

  • Instill in students a desire to learn, take responsibility for their own education and achieve good academic results; 
  • Inspire students' participation in good citizenship in its broader sense, in the classroom and throughout the school community; and 
  • Model the value of "we are crew, not passengers" in their classroom and throughout the school - a founding principle of EL Education. 

EL Education proudly recognizes and congratulates all finalists for the 2016 Klingenstein Teacher Award. All finalists, who are nominated by peers, stand out for their remarkable service to their school community, as well as their persistence in passionately developing students with character who excel academically and contribute to making the world a better place. Finalists for the 2016 Klingenstein Teacher Award are: 

  • Nicole Ghaname:  The Springfield Renaissance School - Springfield, MA 
  • Jon Koenig: WHEELS - New York, NY 
  • Becca Mason: Codman Academy Charter School - Boston, MA

Watch Chris' full speech here.