2009: Deron Bayer
With ten years of experience as a history teacher, football coach and theater director, it’s no surprise that Deron Bayer was the first recipient of the James C. Kapteyn Prize. Born into a family of teachers, Deron possesses many of the same characteristics as Jamie Kapteyn, namesake of the prize. He is constantly inspired by his parents and his own mentors for showing him the tremendous power that teachers have to transform students’ lives.
Deron is committed to his students and his school, Housatonic Valley Regional High School in Falls Village, Conn. He has expert command of his subject and a huge impact in the classroom as a member of the history department. He understands what teenagers go through during their high school careers, both scholastically and personally, and he uses compassion, patience and high expectations to drive excellence out of both the star pupils and the at-risk students. In addition to Deron’s professional accomplishments, the Kapteyn Prize Selection Committee was moved by the quality of his character, particularly his humility, for which Jamie Kapteyn was widely known. Deron’s power as a positive role model is invaluable to his students and community, and this leadership best exemplifies the spirit of the Kapteyn Prize.