2014

Distinguished Educator

Michael Karpie

Michael Karpie graduated from Canisius College with a BS in Business Education and an MS in School Administration. He joined the Hamburg Central School District in 1977, where he taught business classes for 34 years. In addition to teaching, Mike also got involved with other programming at Hamburg, Including Director of Hamburg’s Adult Education Program, the School-To-Work Program, the Ford Academy of Manufacturing Science and Hamburg’s Leadership Academy. He found great reward and success in each of these programs, but arguably his greatest achievements came when he resurrected and led Hamburg’s DECA program for 23 years. DECA is an association of students and teachers that participate in a program of regional, state and national competitions aimed at helping young leaders and entrepreneurs prepare for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and other areas of business. Under Mike Karpie’s leadership and direction, the DECA students not only won on the regional and state levels, but he also oversaw 105 national winners in 23 years. That number is truly astounding when you consider less than 1% of those who compete ever make it to the National level. One of the proudest moments came with the national win by his Civic Project Team. They made a year-long commitment to MDA and wrote a 30-page manual, resulting in three of his students winning an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii. Hamburg competitors traveled to many places around the country building business and leadership skills. They covered more than 100,000 miles in 23 years, competing in New York, California, Hawaii, Washington, D.C., Tennessee, St. Louis, Boston and Dallas. Many of the students were also committed to leadership conferences and board meetings as chapter and regional officers in DECA, and the Hamburg students served in 16 state offices over 23 years. Mike also served on the Board of the Directors of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, the New York State DECA Board and as President of Western New York DECA, responsible for student security for New York State. His is now retired and resides in Alden where he sits on the Board of Education.