The surprise of a lifetime propelled Kristen Record, a Stratford physics teacher and Connecticut’s 2011 Teacher of the Year, into yet another exclusive group of exceptional educators.
Record, surrounded by colleagues, family, and friends, in the Bunnell High School media center in Stratford, was honored for her 23 years of dedication to her students and the teaching profession and named a 2023 National Teachers Hall of Fame inductee.
“Kristen is a strong, creative educator and a shining example of the incredible teachers in classrooms across Connecticut,” said CEA President Kate Dias. “She is an outspoken union leader and a passionate and enthusiastic ambassador for her students, her colleagues, and the teaching profession. A strong believer that learning should be relevant, she uses her expertise to create fun and exciting lessons that help students understand how physics impacts their everyday lives.”
The Teachers Hall of Fame celebrates the accomplishments of outstanding educators whose commitment to excellence enhances the public’s awareness of the vital role educators play in today’s society.
“This is another prestigious honor, among a host of other spectacular accomplishments, awards, and recognition Kristen has earned over her career, and we couldn’t be prouder,” said CEA Vice President Joslyn DeLancey.
Record is one of only five educators selected for induction into the National Teachers Hall of Fame class of 2023, the 31st class inducted into the program.
“There’s no bigger honor that I could imagine,” said Record. “I was nominated by a colleague for whom I have tremendous respect—someone I have sought to emulate—and I am joining other teachers from Connecticut I consider role models and teacher leaders.”
Record was nominated by Representative Chris Poulos, a 2022 National Teachers Hall of Fame inductee and 2007 Connecticut Teacher of the Year who teaches Spanish at Joel Barlow High School in Redding, and who joined today’s celebration via Zoom.
“Kristen Record is an exemplary educator and leader and is respected throughout our state and nation,” said Poulos. “She continuously strives to elevate the teaching profession by providing opportunities for educators to enrich their practice and advocacy skills. Kristen recognizes that student well-being and academic growth are deeply influenced by ongoing teacher empowerment.”
“This honor shines a light on my community and the excellence that exists in the school district, because I really believe that you can only be as good as the people you surround yourself with,” said Record. “I may be the one who achieved this recognition, but it only happened because I have always been surrounded by excellence in the school district.”
Record is the sixth Connecticut teacher to be inducted into the national program, following in the footsteps of Poulos and Dr. David Bosso, a Berlin High School social studies teacher and 2012 Connecticut Teacher of the Year, who became a National Teachers Hall of Famer in 2019.
Bosso made today’s announcement, saying, “I followed your footsteps and have worked closely with you for many years on the Connecticut Teacher of the Year Council as we endeavor to enrich our profession and empower teachers and students. I have witnessed your dedication to our profession, and your commitment to your students and school community have been abundantly evident. It has been my privilege to know you and learn from you. May your selection to the National Teachers Hall of Fame stand as an example to all, representing what can be achieved by doing what you love and giving of yourself for the growth and well-being of your students. Kristen, you represent what is great in American education today.”
“Kristen’s passion for physics is infectious, but more importantly, she cares about young people, their struggles, and their achievements,” said colleague and Stratford Education Association President Michael Fiorello. “Kristen’s tireless advocacy for the profession is in no way at odds with her advocacy for students. She understands that in order for students to feel safe to take intellectual risks, teachers need to be valued, respected, and trusted to try new things.”
Record’s students appreciate her dedication and support.
“I am lucky to have her as a teacher. She is passionate about everything she teaches and helps us all understand the materials,” said Grace Caldwell, a Bunnell senior.
“She is always engaged with students and explains ideas and concepts in a variety of ways, making sure we all understand the lessons,” said Cassidy Battaglio, a Bunnell junior. “She allows us to break into groups to collaborate on topics, which is beneficial, and she meets with every group to ensure that we fully understand the concepts.”
“Ms. Record deserves this honor,” said fellow junior Ashlin Lopez. “We have deep discussions, and I feel comfortable talking about anything in her class and sharing anything.”
Dr. Katie Graf, Bunnell High School principal, said, “Kristen regularly goes above and beyond the call of duty and has dedicated her entire adult life to teaching high school science. She holds her students to high expectations; she also recognizes the growing needs of our diverse, transient population and supports students through differentiation, scaffolding, and extra help sessions.”
Record followed in the footsteps of her parents, Daniel and Carolyn, who taught in Portland, Cromwell, and Haddam-Killingworth for a combined 75 years before retiring in 2012. Her brother Dan and sister-in-law are also Connecticut teachers, and her niece is an aspiring educator.
Kristen’s passion for teaching started at a very young age.
“When she was four years old, she would line up her stuffed animals like they were in a classroom, and she would teach them,” said her father, who was also a physics teacher. “One of the greatest honors in my life was to have Kristen in my AP physics class. Her mother and I encouraged her to be the best she can be and to exceed what we have accomplished, and she has done that. This is a lifetime achievement, and we are so very proud of her.”
Record will attend formal induction ceremonies in Washington, D.C., in May and in Emporia, Kansas, in June.