The Gideon Hawley Teacher Recognition Award commemorates Gideon Hawley, an 1809 graduate of Union College who is distinguished historically for his leadership in education and concern for teacher development in New York State during the nineteenth century. As the first Superintendent of Public Instruction, he laid the foundations for the public elementary schools of the State. The Board of Regents appointed him Secretary in 1814, an office held for twenty-seven years. As both Superintendent and Secretary, he became a dominant figure in New York State education. He was largely responsible for the establishment of the first normal school in New York, which is now the State University of New York at Albany.
This award is usually presented on Founders Day, in late February.
Recipient for the 2020 Gideon Hawley Award – Zachary Rittner '12, a Biology and Environmental Science Teacher at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School in Scotch Plains, N.J., nominated by Maryam Ramjohn '23.