The Mort Thau Award was named in honor of a man who made a significant contribution to the field of education and, in particular, school personnel administration. Mort was born and raised in Great Neck, graduating from Great Neck High School in 1941. He was an All-American soccer player at Springfield College, where he received his Bachelor's degree in Health and Physical Education. His undergraduate studies were interrupted by a three-year stint in the armed services, including duty as a staff sergeant in the Pacific theater. Mort subsequently earned his Master's degree from New York University in 1951.
He began his teaching career at Geneseo State Teachers College, where he served as a PE Teacher, Director of Athletics and Varsity Coach for baseball, basketball and soccer. He later taught Health and PE at City College of New York. In 1952, Mort accepted employment as a Teacher, Coach and Director of Recreation in Baldwin, Long island, marking the beginning of a long and successful career with the Baldwin School System. In 1961, Mort was appointed Assistant Superintendent for Personnel and served in that capacity until his untimely death in 1978 at the age of 54.
Mort Thau was an active member of our profession. Along with Jay Greene and a handful of others, he played an instrumental role in the creation of NYSASPA in 1966. He served as Treasurer of NYSASPA in 1968 and of the Long Island Association of School Personnel Administrators in 1977. As a Personnel Administrator, Mort was professional, expert in his field and through the force of his personality always demonstrated strong leadership qualities. He was a demanding individual who set high standards for others, while at the same time accepting no less from himself. Mort was both a friend and colleague to all those who were fortunate to have worked with him. Through his accomplishments and service to others he made a lasting impact on our profession.