Preschool Teacher Catherine Matthews Crowned 2023 Montana Teacher of the Year

Preschool Teacher Catherine Matthews Crowned 2023 Montana Teacher of the Year	 In a surprising turn of events at Hyalite Elementary School, Catherine Matthews, a preschool special education teacher, was bestowed with the distinguished title of 2023 Montana Teacher of the Year. In what she initially believed to be a safety seminar, Matthews walked into the school’s auditorium only to be met with the delightful news.

“It’s incredibly rewarding, and I’m just so thankful,” said Matthews, her voice brimming with gratitude. “There are so many teachers who deserve that award, and to receive it, I’m receiving it on behalf of many because this is a team effort.”

Superintendent Elsie Arntzen stood before the gathered Hyalite Elementary School students, teachers, administrators, and representatives from the Bozeman School District to declare Catherine Matthews as the 2023 Montana Teacher of the Year. Arntzen commended Matthews for her deep understanding of each child’s strengths and her commitment to fostering an inclusive classroom environment.

“I am proud to present the Teacher of the Year award to Catherine Matthews,” said Superintendent Elsie Arntzen. “Catherine embraces a powerful understanding of the strengths of all our children, especially as they begin their learning journey. She is a true teacher leader, and she is a great addition to the legacy of Montana Teacher of the Year. Join me in congratulating Catherine and all Montana teachers. I wish her the best in the National Teacher of the Year competition!”

Catherine Matthews’ selection as the Montana Teacher of the Year followed a rigorous and competitive process. A selection committee, comprising representatives from various educational organizations, conducted interviews with four finalists, including Shelia Devins of Seely Lake, Kris Gulman of Hamilton and Jake Warner of Helena Public Schools. The committee, including the 2022 Montana Teacher of the Year and representatives from the Office of Public Instruction, the Governor’s Office, and other key entities, unanimously chose Matthews for the coveted award.

Reflecting on the recognition, Matthews expressed her gratitude and acknowledged the collective effort of the education community. “I want to represent my colleagues to the best of my abilities because education is a team effort. We have an exceptional team in our school, our classroom, and our community.”

As the newly crowned Montana Teacher of the Year, Catherine Matthews will now carry the torch for Montana as she competes in the National Teacher of the Year program. Her dedication, empathy, and commitment to fostering an inclusive learning environment have rightfully earned her this prestigious honor. Alongside her fellow finalists, Matthews stands as a shining example of excellence in the field of education, inspiring educators and students alike.

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