Sheffield, Mass.— Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation announced today that Jeffrey Welch, a social studies teacher at Mount Greylock Regional High School in Williamstown, Mass., has been awarded the 10th annual James C. Kapteyn Prize for excellence in teaching. He will receive a $10,000 award for study or travel to enrich his teaching, and the school will receive a $2,000 grant in his name.
In his 21 years at Mount Greylock, Welch’s teaching assignments have ranged from core world and U.S. history classes to topics in a wide variety of disciplines, including conversational Italian, psychology and introduction to the law. He has directed the spring musical since 2000 and has served as the curriculum leader of the social studies department since 2005.
“As a history teacher, I cherish the opportunity to expose students to the stories of the ancient and modern cultures of the world. However, I am also inspired to educate by my personal past,” Welch wrote in a statement. “I had fantastic teachers in my life, from very wise and intelligent immigrant relatives to teachers whose love for subject, profession and student inspired me to do and be my best. As a teacher, I am a link to the past as well as a bridge to the future. That is why I teach.”
Colleagues and students have described Welch as a devoted, engaging, resourceful and inspirational educator who respects his students and instills in them a love of learning. “He pushes me to think more deeply about the world around me and to contribute to it, to further my studies and ask questions,” stated Madison VanDeurzen, a member of the Mount Greylock Class of 2018.
“As a teacher, an advisor and a colleague, Jeff Welch has pushed Mount Greylock to grow, reflect on its own history and grow some more,” Principal Mary Alvord MacDonald wrote in a letter nominating Welch for the prize. “His work has a significant impact on every member of the student body. I am honored to work with him.”
Welch will receive the Kapteyn Prize during an award ceremony at Mount Greylock Regional High School on Sunday, Nov. 4, from noon to 2 p.m.
The James C. Kapteyn Endowment Fund was established at Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation in 2009 to honor the memory of beloved teacher Jamie Kapteyn, who over a 20-year career taught English and coached soccer and lacrosse at Deerfield Academy, the Williston Northampton School and Cushing Academy. The fund’s primary mission is to honor its namesake’s memory by recognizing and rewarding extraordinary educators in Berkshire Taconic’s four-county region of northwest Litchfield County, CT, Berkshire County, MA, and Columbia County and northeast Dutchess County, NY, as well as Franklin County, MA. Principals and heads of school may nominate an outstanding high school teacher who meets the vision of the fund. Nominations for next year’s Kapteyn Prize are due Feb. 9, 2019.
A list of previous Kapteyn Prize recipients can be found at www.berkshiretaconic.org/KapteynPrize. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation
Now in its 30th year, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation builds stronger communities by inspiring charitable giving in northwest Litchfield County, CT; Berkshire County, MA; and Columbia County and northeast Dutchess County, NY. A nonprofit public charity with $150 million in assets, the foundation distributed a total of $6.5 million through grants and scholarships in 2017 to nonprofits and individuals in the arts and education, health and human services, and environmental protection. You can make a difference. We can help. www.berkshiretaconic.org