Rachel Murat, who was named 2020 New York State Teacher of the Year, is The Patton College of Education’s February Alum of the Month.
Murat completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Education at Ohio University in 1995 and has been teaching at Maine-Endwell High School in Endwell, N.Y., ever since. She is the 50th recipient of the prestigious statewide award, and was a finalist in 2019.
“It is such an honor to be selected as an ambassador for our state’s 210,000-plus teachers,” said Murat. “I look forward to working on their behalf this year.”
As New York State Teacher of the Year, Murat will engage in numerous professional development opportunities and represent teachers across New York. She will also be the state's nominee for National Teacher of the Year.
Murat teaches social studies and technology integration at Maine-Endwell High School, but her work stretches beyond the classroom. She founded a district-wide nonprofit food pantry system in 2010.
The program, known as Maine-Endwell Assisting Local Spartans (M-EALS), provides food to over 100 families in the school district on weekends and holiday breaks.
Born into a family of educators, Murat was hesitant to follow in her relatives’ footsteps, but reconsidered during her time at Ohio University.
“The only thing I knew when I went to college was that I didn’t want to be a teacher,” said the Hamburg, N.Y., native. “There were several teachers in my family and I thought I needed to do something different to distinguish myself.”
Murat describes her journey to The Patton College of Education as “a bumpy but fulfilling road,” and appreciates the comprehensiveness of her studies.
“I am thankful for the preparation that Ohio University provided me with, as well as the experience working with the community. The professors, as well as student body, were such an asset to me as I grew as an educator,” said Murat.
Murat received her Master’s of Social Sciences from Binghamton University in Binghamton, N.Y., in 2001.
In the classroom, Murat aims to instill higher levels of digital literacy within her students.
In addition to teaching technology-integration classes, she has been involved in multiple technology-oriented committees and organizations at Maine-Endwell High School and in the district.
Murat has been teaching at Maine-Endwell High School for 24 years, a career that she said she has been blessed to have.
“Hands down, the best part of my job is the time I get to spend with the kids,” she said. “They fill my heart with joy, and my world is better when they are around.”