BOZEMAN — No doubt, it’s been a tough couple of years in education. The principal of Hyalite Elementary, Heather Chvojka, has had a front-row seat to watch all the highs and the lows. Now she has what she calls a much-deserved surprise for a teacher who spread love and compassion even on the toughest days.
“If you've ever seen Catherine teach before, it's like watching a magic show,” said Chvojka. “The things that she's able to do with these kids is amazing.”
Teachers and staff at Hyalite Elementary gathered in a teacher's lounge Tuesday, conspiring as they got ready for an assembly to watch Catherine Matthews, a special education pre-k teacher, be awarded Teacher of the Year.
The catch? She had no clue she would be receiving the award.
“We’ve been keeping this a secret for almost three weeks now,” said Chvojka. “She’ll be surprised for sure.”
Matthews said she was more than surprised.
“I'm still in shock,” said Matthews. “Very much so."
Matthews has been teaching for almost 20 years now. She was chosen out of 57 other candidates for the award. She said receiving Teacher of the Year means the world to her because teaching is her true passion.
"I love learning about what they love,” said Matthews. “Following their passions and making that the focus, it's incredibly rewarding and I’m just so thankful."