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Bethlehem mourns longtime fifth grade teacher Chris Porter

Filed in Archive, District, District News by on November 17, 2017

The Bethlehem Central School District community is mourning the loss of a dedicated educator and friend. Eagle Elementary School fifth grade teacher Christine Porter passed away on Sunday, November 12, 2017 at the age of 54 after a four-month battle with an aggressive brain tumor.

Known for her love of teaching and her sensitivity, patience and guidance, Mrs. Porter touched the lives of countless students, parents and colleagues.

Chris Porter had been employed in Bethlehem for 20 years. She taught fifth grade at Glenmont Elementary School for 12 years and most recently, taught fifth grade at Eagle Elementary School. Porter had not been teaching in the current school year and was on a medical leave of absence since September.

“Mrs. Porter’s dedication and her love of children made Bethlehem a better place,” said Superintendent of Schools Jody Monroe. “She had a way of making her students feel special and they have carried that with them as they have grown. She had the same effect on her colleagues, no matter where she went. Chris Porter has left an indelible imprint on this community but to lose her in this way is difficult.

“Our hearts go out to her family,” said Superintendent Monroe.

Superintendent Monroe said Porter was extremely popular with students where she taught and was a familiar face at Bethlehem High School commencement ceremonies. Every year, when the graduating seniors vote on which teachers they would like to invite to commencement, Mrs. Porter would inevitably be on that list, Monroe said.

Measures have been put in place to support students and staff during this difficult time. Grief counselors will be available at Eagle Elementary School and Glenmont School, as well as at the middle school and high school, to assist the school community in dealing with this untimely loss.

Since late September, Porter’s colleagues at Eagle Elementary School have been collecting student memories, asking former students to recall what it meant to be a part of what was known for so long as “5Porter.” The tributes, which included photos, poems, and messages of appreciation were delivered last month to Mrs. Porter and her family in a special book.

“When you work with someone as special as Chris Porter, you know that her impact is far-reaching,” said Eagle Principal Dianna Reagan. “She not only motivated her students to tackle middle school with their heads held high but so many credit her with their success in college and beyond. It was not surprising to hear that our beloved Mrs. Porter inspired several of her former students to become teachers themselves.”

Principal Reagan said Porter had a special knack for treating each student as an individual, uncovering their unique gifts, with the goal of moving each one forward in their learning.

“Mrs. Porter made sure that every child walked out of her classroom a better student than when they walked in,” said Reagan.

“She also had a tremendous impact on her colleagues at our school and throughout the district,” said Reagan. “Her spirit will carry on in so many classrooms because we all learned from her.”

Calling hours will be held Thursday, November 16 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at at New Comer Funeral Home, 343 New Karner Road, Colonie, 12205. A memorial service to celebrate Mrs. Porter’s  life will be held on Saturday, November 25, at 11 a.m. in the First United Methodist Church in Delmar.

The family of Mrs. Porter has requested that In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Bethlehem Music Association or the International Rescue Committee. To leave a special message for the family, please visit NewComerAlbany.com

An obituary can be found here: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/timesunion-albany/obituary.aspx?n=christine-stoker-porter-chris&pid=187243743