2022 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree
Teacher, Advanced Placement U.S. History
Farmingdale High School, Farmingdale UFSD
Nationally celebrated educator, devoted mentor and exceptional role model James Hughes has served the students of Farmingdale for nearly 30 years. He has inspired countless individuals through his GAMER philosophy (an acronym for Grateful, Acceptance, Motivation, Enjoy and Reflect), but even more through his living example. Since the age of three, Mr. Hughes has been blind, which was later compounded by hearing impairments that also rendered him deaf. Yet these challenges have not deterred him in any way from accomplishing whatever he has chosen to undertake.
He received the National Museum of Education’s Freida J. Reily Award, bestowed annually upon “an American teacher who overcomes adversity or makes an enormous sacrifice to impact students positively.” He is the recipient of the Harvard Club Distinguished Teacher Award, and was named an honorary lifetime member of the Parent Teacher Association. His outstanding contributions as an educator have also captured the attention of major media, and as a result he was the focus of a CBS News special.
An award-winning athlete, Mr. Hughes was inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame as a recipient of the medal of courage award. He also contributes his time as a moderator of numerous school clubs and serves as vice president of the Farmingdale Federation of Teachers. A devoted “Daler,” he is a contributing member of the Farmingdale chapter of Lions Club International, a world-renowned community service organization.
Mr. Hughes is recognized as an outstanding motivational speaker, and his GAMER philosophy is regarded as a highly applicable framework that outlines a manageable approach to accepting and managing life's challenges. He delivers his inspiring and relatable message with humor and honesty, and people come away from his talks with the feeling that the right mindset can change the world.