Tate Aldrich, an English teacher at Laconia High School, was named New Hampshire’s Teacher of the Year by the New Hampshire Department of Education. The Department highlighted his dedication to his students and his commitment to them:
His philosophy of teaching is that all students have the capacity to think critically about their world and the ability to access the humanity of others; therefore, it is the responsibility of their teachers to invest themselves in establishing relationships, which develop both the students’ minds and hearts.
Tate wrote in his application, “My greatest accomplishment as an educational leader at Laconia High School is also my department’s greatest accomplishment: achieving presence. Our hard work – along with our partnerships…has provided us a platform, from which we can continue to contribute and inspire another generation to contribute, as well.”
He underscored the importance of community and reaching every student on a personal level in an interview with NHPR:
What’s been your approach to teaching, particularly in terms of breaking through the achievement gap, something that’s been an issue for schools for decades?
I have to admit that being from Laconia gives me an advantage I think. So I have some unique insight into how kids from Laconia think. And Laconia’s a really interesting place, economically diverse. And I think I use that insight to establish meaningful relationships with each kid.
You were also praised not just for the work you do at the school, but your involvement in the community. You’re part of a group called “Stand Up Laconia,” which is working to combat substance abuse.
How important is that kind of community involvement to you?
It’s really important. “Stand Up Laconia,” like you said, does work to combat substance abuse. “Got Lunch” is another organization that I work with. Over 60 percent of our student body qualifies for free or reduced lunch. And “Got Lunch” works to feed those children over the summer. It’s really for me just about serving the community. As a teacher, I’ve learned over the years that each community has different needs. So I think in being a part of those two organizations, I’m fulfilling my obligations beyond the curriculum.