Albion High School band director named ‘Educator of the Year’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 June 2023 at 8:16 am

Mike Thaine praised for rapport with students, setting high expectations

Photos by Tom Rivers: Albion Central School Superintendent Mickey Edwards presents the district’s “Educator of the Year” award to High School band director Mike Thaine, right, during Wednesday’s night high school instrumental music spring concert.

ALBION – The school district has honored Mike Thaine as Albion’s “Educator of the Year” for the 2022-23 school year.

Thaine was praised for leading the high school band, marching band, jazz band and for conducting the high school pit orchestra for the musical.

“He has incredible rapport with students, in and out of the classroom,” said Jennifer Ashbery, the high school principal.

Her daughters are both in the band program led by Thaine.

Clara Bolton, a senior in the band, was among the nominees for Thaine to receive the award.

“Mr. Thaine is an adult everyone can trust,” she wrote.

He encourages the students to work hard and excel, she said.

The award is typically presented just before the Board of Education meeting in June, when the district also recognizes retiring teachers and other staff. Thaine was unable to attend Monday’s recognition program because he was with students at a New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) solo competition in Brockport.

Karen Conn, a music teacher in the high school, said Thaine is highly respected by his colleagues.

“He is a calming presence and an excellent confidante,” she said.

Thaine graduated from Albion in 1986. After working at the Prattsburgh school district for eight years, Thaine came back to Albion and was an elementary music teacher from 1998 until moving to the high school in 2006.

He has been part of a music program in Albion that has won national recognition the past 16 years from the NAMM Foundation for “Best Communities for Music Education.”

Thaine told the crowd at Albion that he loves his job, working with 80 students in the high school band program.

“These guys make it so nice to come to work,” Thaine said about the students. “Kids, I love you and I tell you that all the time and I mean it.”

Thaine has worked more than three decades as a music teacher and he said he is enjoying the job now more than ever.

“I’m blessed with the nicest group of kids I’ve ever had,” he said after Wednesday’s concert.

Mike Thaine introduces the next piece of music during Wednesday’s concert. The jazz band and concert band together performed 10 songs during Wednesday’s concert.