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. 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.

Kathryn Matthews Sugar Grove, NC | K-6, Science, 2018

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Kathryn “Katie” Matthews began her teaching career in 1997. She taught kindergarten in Wake County and Richmond City Schools. Since 2010, she has been teaching all subjects to first grade at Valle Crucis Elementary School. In 2015, Katie received the Burroughs Wellcome Career Award in Science and Math Teaching, a $175,000 five-year grant to support a program she created, Science PALS (Partnering in Active Learning through Science). PALS pairs elementary students with intermediate or middle school students for weekly hands-on science investigations utilizing the 4 C’s to increase rigor and build relationships in the classroom. The program has grown from 40 students, two teachers, and one school in 2014 to over 750 students, 35 teachers, and all eight elementary schools in her district in 2019. Katie was named Watauga County Schools Teacher of the Year in 2012-2013 and NCSTA District 7 Outstanding Elementary Science Teacher in 2016. In 2018, she traveled with Steve Spangler and other educators to Alaska to experience Science at Sea. Katie earned a B.S. in elementary education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a 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.