Dan Mattoon and Michael Peters receive 2024 Murray Award for Excellence in Education

The Niskayuna Community Foundation surprised two Niskayuna High School teachers, prize patrol-style, with the 21st annual Murray Award for Excellence in Education. The awards were presented to Dan Mattoon, a Math and Computer Science teacher and Michael Peters, a Social Studies teacher. Each awardee receives an engraved plaque and $2,500 for their professional development.

The Niskayuna Community Foundation has proudly presented 40 Niskayuna High School educators with a total of $100,000 since the Murray Award was established in 2004 by Kathy Murray Crowe and Jeanne Murray Veasey to honor their parents legacy. Edwards and Sally Murray were instrumental in creating Niskayuna High School. They believed that the most creative, driven, and inspirational teachers provided the finest education. The award is also given in memory of Jeanne Murray Veasey, who has since passed away.

Mattoon is revered by colleagues and students at NHS for his engaging moments in the classroom. He is also known to be a steadfast source of support for students seeking additional help with their studies. Mattoon also advises the Chess Club, which recently competed at Siena College’s high school coding competition.

Peters is known to challenge his pupils to think for themselves and consider the “why” behind things. His students enjoy his unique ways of making learning interesting, like with speed dating games for historical figures. Peters also coaches the Track and Field program and organizes field trips for the Niskayuna Outing Club.

A committee representing students, parents, and peers chose the recipients and the Niskayuna Community Foundation facilitated the selection process and award presentation. Criteria included outstanding classroom practices as well as growth potential and a school presence that inspires and positively impacts students, colleagues and the community. At the request of the Murray family, this award is not competitive. It is intended to be an annual opportunity to select educators who represent the overall excellence of the high school staff and educational program.

The Niskayuna Community Foundation,  founded in 1999, is an affiliate and geographic fund of the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region (CFCR). NCF’s mission is to inspire generosity, encourage equity, and invest in local solutions in Niskayuna through grantmaking and awarding of scholarships. NCF has provided $500,000 in grants to more than 110 non-profits since 2000.