ALBANY, N.Y., Sept. 10, 2019 — New York State United Teachers today lauded Rachel Murat — a celebrated longtime Maine-Endwell social studies teacher, high school mentor and community servant — on being named the 2020 New York State Teacher of the Year.
Murat, a 2019 Teacher of the Year finalist, has taught numerous history and government classes and developed Maine-Endwell’s first Digital Citizenship course, aimed at ensuring students understand the importance and reach of their digital footprints. The Maine-Endwell Teachers Association member has spent her 24-year career not just teaching her students, but helping them grow into young adults ready for college and careers. In 2005, she helped develop a ninth-grade mentoring program to help students transition academically, socially and emotionally to high school.
Taking her work beyond the classroom, Murat is founder and president of Maine-Endwell Assisting Local Spartans (M-EALS), through which the district provided food and other essential items to more than 115 families in the most recent school year, and hundreds more since it was founded in 2010.
Among a long list of awards she has received throughout her distinguished career, Murat is an eight-time Maine-Endwell Distinguished Teacher, an honor bestowed by each senior class on the teacher who has had the greatest influence on their education.
“Dedication to one’s craft is essential in any career field, but Rachel exemplifies the dedication that our educators have for both their careers and the people they serve: New York’s children,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “Whether it’s teaching students thoughtful digital citizenship or helping families dealing with food insecurity, Rachel is a shining example of how we all should seek to impact our communities to build a better New York and world.”
Murat’s lengthy resume offers a window into what her colleagues, students and fellow community members say is her passion for education, tenacious work ethic and strong character. In nominating her for the 2020 Teacher of the Year award, one student wrote, “When she is in front of a classroom, or even simply just walking through the halls of the school, she makes it her mission to leave every person better than she found them.”
“Rachel serves as an inspiration for both her peers and those taking a look at teaching as a possible profession,” NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango said. “As educators, we all seek to lift up our students and help them achieve their full potential. Rachel’s experience is a model for how fulfilling education can be for both teachers and their students.”
Murat succeeds 2019 Teacher of the Year Alhassan Susso, a government, economics and personal development teacher at the International Community High School in the Bronx.
Also today, NYSUT applauded the 2020 Teacher of the Year finalists: United Teachers of Northport member John Braun, Grand Island Teachers Association member Mary Howard, Watervliet Teachers Association member Jeanne Lance and Schenectady Federation of Teachers member Laura Macey.
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.