B.S. Special Education/Elementary Education; M.S. Literacy
Grade 3 Teacher, Pine Hills Elementary School, Albany
Recipient of Golden Apple Award for District’s Top Teachers
Lives in Colonie, NY
Michelle Lee-Chiappone’s students are only in third grade, but they have already taken on a global problem. Lee-Chiappone, who teaches at Albany’s Pine Hills Elementary School, had her class learn about the severe shortage of clean drinking water in Tanzania. And, with fellow Saint Rose alumna and third grade teacher Deann Lynch ’84, she launched a school-wide service project that over three years raised $15,000 to help build a solar-powered well in that east African nation.
It was this kind of thinking that earned Lee-Chiappone a Golden Apple Award, which goes to teachers in Albany city schools who exhibit special creativity that motivates students. She credits Saint Rose with pushing her to go beyond simply being a good instructor. “I knew I had people who cared about me and wanted me to do well,” she says.
Lee-Chiappone continues using teaching strategies she learned at Saint Rose. She also uses many of the children’s books her professors recommended when she studied elementary education and special education as an undergraduate and as she pursued her graduate degree in literacy. She says she also draws from the confidence she gained at Saint Rose, where as president of Kappa Delta Pi, the national honor society for educators, she worked with other students devoted to excellence in the field. Today she does more than praise the College. As a mentor teacher in the Saint Rose Residency Program, she supports student teachers in her classroom for a year as they develop skills in planning, teaching and assessment. Lee-Chiappone remains involved in service projects such as the one devoted to Tanzania and numerous committees at Pine Hills, all with an eye to giving her students the best shot at a bright future.