James C. Kapteyn Prize

James c. kapteyn prize

The James C. Kapteyn Prize was established to recognize high school teachers of exemplary character, integrity and honor who have made a career commitment to high school teaching of at least seven years and who lead by example, imparting to their students a lifelong love of learning and dedication to personal growth. The prize awards up to $10,000 annually and is open to teachers in Berkshire County and Franklin County, Mass., Columbia County and northeast Dutchess County, N.Y., and northwest Litchfield County, Conn.

Principals and Heads of School may nominate an outstanding educator by February 9. Eligible nominees will be invited to submit an application by March 27.

Read the eligibility requirements

Dr. Tasia Cheng-Chia Wu, a music teacher at Berkshire School in Sheffield, Mass., has been awarded the 12th annual James C. Kapteyn Prize for excellence in teaching in an unprecedented year for the region’s educators and students.

Read more

The directors of the James C. Kapteyn Endowment Fund and Prize, the Kapteyn family and BTCF are grateful to the following contributors for their generous gifts to the Fund:

Founding Donors
Margaret Kendrick Blodgett Foundation
Adam & Maggie Reeves
Margaret Whitfield

George Abe
Richard M. Allen
Per Arienti
Mr. & Mrs. Gary M. Augustus
Cassie Avirom
Benjamin C. Barrett
Mr. & Mrs. Stephen N. Benjamin
Henricus Bergmans
Kirk Blair
Molly Kapteyn Boxer
Erik Bruun
Kelton Burbank Jr.
Patricia Buttenheim
Mr. & Mrs. Brian Butterworth
Lisa Chaject
Timothy Crudo


Mr. & Mrs. Lowell J. Davenport Jr.
Kathleen Delancey
Mr. & Mrs. Chris Delaney
James L. Dooley
Arlene Fauser
John Friends
Ralph Gaines
Cynthia Gardner
James Hagar
Nick Hammerschlag
Hayseed Hill Foundation Trust
B. Thomas Henry
Christopher Vail Hogan
Mr. & Mrs. Kevin Holt
Michael C. Huebsch
Philip Jones
Peter Kimball
Daniel H. Leavy
Thomas Lee
William Lutkins
Leslie MacGregor & Dalton Winslow
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Malcolm
Mr. & Mrs. John A. Malcolm
Susanne Meline
Laura Mischel
Timothy Montague
Andrew Nash
Mr. & Mrs. Gerard O'Brien
Thomas Ogden
Gregg Petricca
Mr. & Mrs. Adam A. Reeves
Neil Schneider
Mary Potter See
Megan P. Shea
L.P. Snodgrass
Alfred Strickler III
Peter Thorne
Criss & David Troast
Peter Whalen
Margaret H. Whitfield
Phoebe Williams
Mr. & Mrs. Townsend Ziebold

Donate to the fund


Jamie Kapteyn and his family on Nantucket.

About jamie

Jamie Kapteyn was meant to be a teacher. His passion for the written word and admiration for his students made Jamie a beloved and respected educator. He spent his days and nights in the classroom, on the playing field and in the dorm, always available to encourage his students and players to do their best. When he died, Jamie’s dedication to teaching lived on. It resonates in his wife and daughters, who watched Jamie grow and prosper in his career, in his former students and in the recipients of the James C. Kapteyn prize.

Jamie was born in Weston, Mass. on June 22, 1961, and was immediately introduced to the world of scholarship. His father, the late James Albert Kapteyn, was a secondary school English teacher at the Cambridge School of Weston and a teacher at Simon’s Rock, an "early college" for accelerated high school students. Jamie spent the majority of his childhood in Berkshire and Franklin counties, attending Berkshire Country Day School and Deerfield Academy. He then enrolled at Trinity College in Connecticut and earned an M.A. from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College.

After a short career in advertising in New York City and marketing in Berkshire County, Jamie found his calling as a boarding school teacher. His first teaching job was as an English tutor at Miss Hall’s School. He then moved on to teach English, coach and serve as a dorm parent at Cushing Academy for nine years, where he chaired the English department for several years.

From 1998 to 2000 Jamie chaired the English Department at The Williston Northampton School before moving on to Deerfield Academy, his alma mater. For seven years, he taught English, served as the sophomore class dean, coached girls’ varsity soccer and boys’ varsity lacrosse, and lived in a boys’ dormitory with his wife, Kirsten, and his two daughters, Ingrid and Ilse.

Jamie’s family life was closely intertwined with his teaching career, but his hobbies also made their way into the classroom. An avid fly fisherman, Jamie taught a course at Deerfield called, “The Quiet Sport: A Study of the Science, the Craft and the Literature of Fly Fishing.”  He cared for his students like they were his own, and is remembered for the way he rode his bike down Deerfield’s Albany Road, wearing a beret and Barbour jacket and greeting everyone he passed.

Jamie died on January 16, 2007 at age 45 while playing indoor soccer with friends and colleagues from Deerfield Academy. More than 1,000 people attended Jamie’s memorial service at Deerfield on January 21, 2007.

Known for his quiet confidence, integrity, humility and playful wit, Jamie was a star teacher.

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