Amherst College honors Oceanside math teacher

May 31, 2014
Photo by: Rob Mattson/Amherst College, Office of Public Affairs Donald Pietroski, winner of the Swift Moore Teaching Award, nominated by Hayli Kinney of Spruce Head.

Amherst, Mass. — Donald Pietroski, a math teacher at Oceanside High School, was among three  instructors honored with a Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Teaching Award during Amherst College’s 193rd Commencement exercises May 25.

Recipients of the honor, which recognizes instructors and counselors who have been important in the lives of graduating Amherst students, are chosen by a committee of seniors, faculty and staff from nominations submitted by members of the Class of 2014.

According to Amherst graduate and nominator Hayli Kinney, Pietroski is a teacher who follows principles and motivations that match those of her alma mater.

“He lives to usher his students — each and every one of them — into lives of compassion, success and significance,” she wrote in nominating him for a Swift Moore Award.

Kinney, a Spruce Head native, cited numerous examples of Pietroski’s dedication to and genuine concern for his students’ well-being, both in and outside of his classroom. As an assistant coach on Oceanside High School’s soccer field, Pietroski took time to listen to a sophomore’s input as genuinely as if the student were a senior. Kinney also recalled witnessing him dress a “poor third-stringer’s blister with the same concern as he did the middle-class top-scorer’s twisted ankle.” A keen observer of his students’ lives outside of school, Pietroski discreetly “checked up on” them and offered his help, especially to those whose families faced troublesome circumstances. When it came time for college applications, Pietroski was no less supportive, providing particular encouragement and guidance to students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. Kinney simply states, “Without his wisdom and compassion, I would not be at Amherst, or at any school of similar caliber, today.” She said hopes to become a teacher like him.

The Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Teaching Awards are named for the first president of Amherst and his wife. This is the 17th year that the college has presented the awards.

Comments (16)
Posted by: Patti Moran | Jun 02, 2014 13:31

Congratulations Don, an award well earned, you have touched so many students lives over so many years, I am glad that it has earned you this honor !!

Posted by: Angela Johnson | Jun 01, 2014 16:39

Congratulations Mr. Pietroski! Glad to see you recognized. You are a dedicated, hard working teacher who sincerely cares about your students. I feel fortunate my daughter had you as her calculus teacher this year. You have been an inspiration to so many kids over the years!

Posted by: Douglas Erickson | Jun 01, 2014 08:10

Wow!!!! Congratulations!!!!! So very deserving!!!!  You certainly helped shape Krists's life. Yeah for Hayli as well!!!!!!


Posted by: Dennis Putansu | May 31, 2014 22:12

It couldn't have happened to a more deserving teacher. We feel truly blessed to have you as our daughter's instructor.  You are an amazing person as well as a caring, dedicated teacher.

Posted by: Kevin P Robertson | May 31, 2014 20:27

I’ve never met a person any more committed to being there for his students than Don Pietroski.  Well deserved award!

Posted by: Heidi Ruth Locke-Talbot | May 31, 2014 19:49

Class act, all the way:) Congrats!

Posted by: Helen Plourd | May 31, 2014 19:38

Congratulations, Don! Proud of you! Helen D. Plourd


Posted by: Rosemarie Richter | May 31, 2014 18:37

Well deserved!

Posted by: Sumner Kinney | May 31, 2014 15:54

How cool is that!


Posted by: Clifton Yattaw, Jr | May 31, 2014 15:23

Congratulations Don, a job well done

Posted by: Nancy Lovett | May 31, 2014 14:16

Congrats Don from all of us

Posted by: Sonia Verge Bates | May 31, 2014 13:28

Job well done. No wonder your my daughters favorite. Congrats!!!

Posted by: Suzanne Lacasse | May 31, 2014 10:56

This is perfect! Congratulations Mr. Pietroski, and Hayli as well!

Posted by: Kathryn Dow | May 31, 2014 09:18

Congrats Donnie!!!  We are thrilled for you!  Jim and Kathy

Posted by: Lois Anderson | May 31, 2014 08:38

Congratulations Petro, your very dear serving.  LJ


Posted by: George C. Hall & Sons, Inc | May 31, 2014 07:53

Congratulations to my favorite physics professor!  You made the classroom a fun place to be.  A nice honor for a deserving teacher.

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