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Valle Crucis teacher Katie Matthews Awarded Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Katie Matthews

Katie Matthews, a first-grade teacher at Valle Crucis School, has been awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The award represents the highest honor a technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States.

Matthews received the award on Oct. 17 at a ceremony in Washington D.C.

Presidential Awardees receive a certificate signed by the President of the United States; a trip to Washington D.C. to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities; and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.

Watauga County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott said Matthews’ work represented a tremendous impact on science education in Valle Crucis School and across Watauga County Schools as a whole.

“It is an honor to share the great news that our very own Katie Matthews from Valle Crucis School is a recipient of the prestigious Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching,” Elliott said. “The award is in recognition of Katie's dedication to the teaching of science and the development of professional development for her fellow teachers.”

Elliott said in her time with Watauga County Schools, Matthews led the implementation of the Science Pals program — a science class that pairs middle schoolers with younger students for joint science education. The program has since been adopted at each of Watauga’s K-8 schools.

Elliott said Matthews was also instrumental in the development of the districts’ first Watauga Teacher Leadership Academy at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, and was recognized as the 2012 Watauga County Schools Teacher of the Year.

Matthews said the recognition was a testament to the teachers who had influenced her career, but also represented an opportunity to further her own journey into developing new methods in science education.

“The Presidential Award represents all the incredible educators who have influenced my life, invested time and energy into who I’ve become, and guided me on my teaching journey,” Matthews said. “This award encourages me to continue seeking new and exciting teaching methods and to advocate for my colleagues and educational community to be able to provide the best learning environment for all students. I look forward to the opportunities on the horizon that will further my passion for teaching.”

Matthews began her teaching career in 1997. She taught kindergarten in Wake County and Richmond City Schools. Since 2010, she has taught first grade at Valle Crucis Elementary School. She earned a B.S. in elementary education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.Ed. in curriculum, instruction, and supervision from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She is certified in kindergarten through sixth grade elementary education and is a National Board Certified Early Childhood Generalist.

For more information on Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, visit www.paemst.org.