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Teacher Wins $1,000 Award in Contest


Middle school teacher Kathy Matthews admits there aren't many people who would trade jobs with her, except on Tuesday when she was honored as "Teacher of the Year" and presented with a $1,000 check.

Although middle school students are often considered difficult to teach, Matthews said hers are bright, creative and full of energy.

"I'm their teacher, but when I'm standing in front of them and we're doing a lesson, it's really they who teach me," said Matthews, who teaches English literature to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students at St. Francis de Sales School, where she is also vice principal.

Matthews said she was happy and surprised to be winner of the contest, sponsored by Steamer Cleaners in Sherman Oaks. She plans to use the money to buy something for her Mission Hills home.

"The kids told me to go on a shopping spree, but that's not like me," said Matthews, 48.

"It will be used for something useful."

In their nomination letter, students said Matthews is kind, loves a good joke and that her classroom is a safe place for learning.

"She will always be our Teacher of the Year," they wrote.

Ironically, Matthews is leaving the school in two weeks to become principal at another Catholic school, St. Rose of Lima School in Simi Valley, which also has about 300 students.

It's a move that has her both excited and nervous.

"I will probably be sleepless all summer," she said.

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