Rhinebeck High School English Teacher Maureen Cunningham Recognized with SUNY New Paltz's Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching

The State University of New Paltz School of Education recently recognized Rhinebeck High School teacher Maureen Cunningham as one of the recipients of its 32nd Annual Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Ms. Cunningham has been teaching English at Rhinebeck High School for the past 29 years and will be retiring this June. She was nominated for this award by school administrators and selected by a committee of education faculty and professionals. Ms. Cunningham’s nomination was further supported by a vast number of letters from students, alumni, parents, colleagues and community members who appreciate the significant impact she has made on students’ lives, learning outcomes and growth, and to the overall school environment.

“I have heard this will be Mrs. Cunningham’s final year of teaching.  My children have been lucky to have had such an inspirational teacher. She deserves the highest of honors because, after all, one excellent teacher in life has a tremendous impact on the lives of many,” said parent Sarah Hill.

The School of Education at SUNY New Paltz established the Dean's Award for Excellence in teaching in 1984 to recognize outstanding teachers in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Each awardee is nominated by a school district administrator, with written support from the teachers' colleagues, students, and parents of students.

“Eleven years ago, when I was hired as an English teacher at Rhinebeck High School, Ms. Cunningham was my mentor, and from our first meeting, I knew I had been given an incredible gift,” said colleague Stephanie Baird. “Her love of teaching inspired me then and continues to inspire me today. She brings out the best in young people, and before they know it, they’ve achieved more than they ever thought possible. Ms. Maureen Cunningham is an extraordinary educator who exemplifies ‘excellence in teaching.’”

The SUNY New Paltz Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching honors excellence, innovation, service, professionalism, commitment, and enthusiasm. It acknowledges the integral role that teachers play in our community where they foster the ideals of learning, inquiry, and the primacy of education as a foundation for intellectual, social, and economic well-being. The School of Education honors exceptional teachers throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley as part of its objective to recognize and foster excellence in education.




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