A Maine-Endwell high school teacher has received recognition as one of the top three teachers in New York State. The award from the Board of Regents sits on a shelf just inside the door of Rachel Murat's social studies classroom. Outside that door, Murat is greeting students with high-fives.
"She's always so positive and always outgoing," says Gabriella Calleo, a junior in Mrs. Murat's 1st period class, "I'm not a morning person, but she makes me want to get up and come to school."
The award from the state comes after a lengthy nomination process, with plenty of interviews and letters of recommendation needed for consideration.
"It's a very high honor, I'm very humbled by this," says Murat.
Maine-Endwell social studies teacher Rachel Murat is recognized as one of the top three in New York State.
Murat may be humble about the achievement, but administrators say there's no doubt in their minds that she's the best of the best. Maine-Endwell Superintendent Jason Van Fossen, says the fact that Murat would be chosen for recognition is not a surprise to anyone who knows how hard she works or how much she cares about her students.
"For us, we're incredibly proud, we're not surprised, but we're proud," says Van Fossen.
Van Fossen says the veteran teacher of 23 years gets great results out of her students, but it's the way that she goes above and beyond that leaves the strongest impression.
"We have students who come back and say 'She's my favorite person I met at Maine-Endwell. She taught me life skills, how to act appropriately, and how to look at things respectfully.' You know, those aren't part of the curriculum," says Van Fossen.
Murat is a teacher, mentor, and advisor for multiple clubs. When asked why and how she does it all, Murat answers: "I get all my energy from the students."
She's clearly passionate about teaching, but it wasn't always what she wanted to do. Murat went to law school, then changed her major a few more times before deciding she wanted to be a teacher just like her dad.
"I never really understood him referring to students as 'his kids' because I was his kid, so I didn't really understand that, but now I totally understand that because they're all my kids," says Murat.