Swift Moore Teaching Award

Donald Pietroski is a high school mathematics teacher who, according to Amherst senior Hayli Kinney, follows principles and motivations that match those of Amherst College. “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 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 hopes to become a teacher like him.