Friday, October 26, 2012

Outstanding Teacher Recognized

It's not every day that someone you know gets a $25,000 award and incredible recognition  for being the best there is. This is what happened to Matt Hadjun, a St. Mike's grad., current graduate student, cooperating teacher, fifth grade teacher, and all around great person. On the morning of Monday October 15 Matt was presented with a Milken Family Foundation National Educator award. Each year the award is presented to forty teachers nationwide in a surprise ceremony in which only a handful of people are privy to before the event. This creates one of the most exciting momentary situations one can imagine.

In a school assembly at Champlain school where Matt teaches fifth grade, all the students, teachers, a selection of local dignitaries, and past Milken award winners gathered under the pretense of listening to a presentation given by the Vermont Commissioner of Education. Commissioner Vilaseca started to speak but quickly turned the proceedings over to the Milken representative who then skilfully led the audience on a journey of what it means to be a great teacher until she finally identified Matt as the winner of the Milken Family Foundation award in Vermont. Sheer joy and pandemonium broke out as a battery of TV cameras rolled to capture the moment. Some of Matt's fifth grade students even had tears of joy rolling down their cheeks as he stepped forward to receive the giant check.

I have known Matt for several years and had the pleasure of working with him last Spring when he hosted one of our student teachers. His classroom is a remarkable  place of learning. With the subdued lights, intimate places for students to learn, and Matt's ever present gentle demeanor and sincere caring for his students and the subject matter he teaches, it is not difficult to imagine how wonderful it must be to be a student in his class at a time when the wonders of the world are just beginning to raise curiosity and a passion for learning.

Well done, Matt, you are an inspiration to all our students who want to be elementary school teachers.

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