The Niskayuna Community Foundation, an affiliate of The Community Foundation
for the Greater Capital Region, surprised two Niskayuna High School teachers
today by presenting them with the 13th annual Murray Award for Excellence in
Education. The awards were presented to James Edgar, an English teacher, and
Meagan Hughes, a chemistry teacher. A crowd of students, parents and
teachers stunned Mr. Edgar and Ms. Hughes as they were in the middle of
teaching their classes, by walking in with plaques and balloons. Each
teacher will receive $2,500 for use in a professional development activity
of their choice.
This annual award was begun in 2004 by Kathy Murray Crowe and Jeanne Murray Veasey, the daughters of Edwards and Sally Murray, to honor their parents' involvement in the formation of the Niskayuna High School and their belief that educators in the high school would be the foundation of the "uncompromising excellence" that is typical of the education throughout the school district. The award is also given in memory of Jeanne Murray Veasey, who has since passed away.
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, but is intended to be an annual opportunity to select educators who represent the overall excellence of the high school staff and educational program.
Students describe Meagan Hughes as a teacher who goes above and beyond both in the classroom and outside of it. Whether working with students doing Chemistry demos, helping out with the National Honor Society, chaperoning dances or attending plays and sporting events, she is always engaged in the Niskayuna High School community. Her students appreciate her ability to mix humor into chemistry and her personality shines through in her teaching. She brings both laughter and depth to the classroom and her students appreciate her and her ability to help them learn to love chemistry.
James Edgar's knowledge and appreciation for writing and literature expands beyond the classroom. In class, Edgar makes reading engaging. Through tackling everything from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream to Maya Angelou's anthology I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Edgar brings joy to the classroom. Outside of the classroom, he is equally dedicated to the betterment of Niskayuna High School through his work mentoring student editors at the Warrior newspaper and facilitating weekly discussions at Anime club.
The mission of the Niskayuna Community Foundation is to enhance and improve the community through organized philanthropy. NCF benefits current and future residents through support in such areas as cultural, town beautification, scholarship, social service, recreation, and many more. Further information may be obtained by calling 374-0326 or by writing to NCF, PO Box 9711, Niskayuna, 12309 or at www.niskayunacf.org.
Photos: Murray Award Presentation 2016