Blaise Messinger, a fifth-grade teacher from Woodside Intermediate School in Cromwell, has been named the teacher of the year for the state.
A good teacher can change a child’s life, but one teacher who impacted hundreds of lives was honored on Tuesday as the Connecticut Teacher of the Year.
Blaise Messinger, a fifth-grade teacher from Woodside Intermediate School in Cromwell, received the award at a ceremony in the school’s cafeteria on Tuesday morning.
“When we are there and that door closes and it’s me and those kids, that's where the magic happens,” said Messinger.
“To have the person here in Cromwell, here at Woodside Intermediate, we are extremely honored,” said school principal Chris Butwill.
Messinger beat out 50,000 teachers in our state, no small achievement for this Brown University grad who wasn’t originally trained as an educator, but as an actor.
He switched careers when he saw the difference a teacher could make with his own son, who is autistic.
“I like to say acting and teaching are pretty much the same job -- just a much tougher crowd now, and a new six-hour show every day,” Messinger said.
Messinger’s students were effusive in their praise.
“He has a unique way of teaching,” said Cailin Duffy.
“He made me excited to learn and he made me excited to come to school,” said Gabi Gentile.
“All the other teachers -- they were really good teachers, but they could never be as good as Mr. Messinger,” said Cara Jordan.
“He's just the best teacher I ever had,” said Julia Lemmon.
That admiration led his students to start a grassroots effort to get Messinger nominated.
“That's the best part about this. It came from the kids,” Messinger said.