Lori Mathys, a fourth grade teacher at , remembers one of her students announcing, "My teacher is teacher of the world!" after she was named Rockwood School District's 2010 teacher of the year. Although that might be an overstatement, her students and co-workers think she is amazing.
"She respects and loves her students, and they love her right back," said Jodi Davidson, principal at Chesterfield Elementary. Davidson described Mathys as an inspiring and awesome teacher who varies her teaching style in order to reach all students. "The student voice is heard and represented throughout the different lessons, which helps children feel part of the learning process," Davidson said. "She goes the extra mile for each student."
Mathys said she tries to make her classroom and school a welcoming place. "I use a hands-on, exploratory approach and encourage my students to develop cooperative skills in group work. Education is a building process over the year," she said. Mathys said she feels that using creativity and innovation as well as focusing on math and science skills are key to improved education for America's children.
Mathys said she was honored to represent Rockwood School District in the statewide Teacher of the Year program. She was one of five finalists at that level. But, she said, the award isn't really about her.
"I truly enjoyed the honor of riding in the Eureka Days Parade and throwing out the first pitch at a Cardinal’s game, but the real honor is in the excitement and pride of my students. I represent teachers that do amazing things every day. Teaching is a collaborative culture. What all teachers want is to see that they can make a difference," she said.