The Phoenix Flyer

Meet teacher Melissa Anne Matz, Florida’s 2023 Teacher of the Year

By: - July 22, 2022 5:07 pm

Clay County math teacher named Melissa Anne Matz named 2023 Teacher of the Year on July 14, 2022. Credit: Screenshot/The Florida Channel

Melissa Anne Matz, a 7th grade math teacher who makes a point to speak to every student as they enter her classroom, has become Florida’s 2023 Teacher of the Year.

An educator working in the Clay County School District in Northeast Florida, “Ms. Matz takes the approach that stepping outside of one’s comfort zone and taking positive risks are how extraordinary gains are achieved,” according to a news release.

She was recognized out of more than 185,000 public school teachers in the state’s 67 school districts and a handful of lab schools.

Matz not only teaches at Lakeside Junior High School in Clay, but she’s served as a math department head for her school.

“Melissa has risen to the top through hard work, passion and putting her students first. I have no doubt she will represent Florida with excellence in the coming year, just as she has done in her classroom,” Florida Commissioner of Education, Manny Diaz Jr., said in a statement.

As the 2023 winner, Matz will receive $20,000 from the state education department and a tuition waiver to pursue a graduate degree from Florida State University’s College of Education. She will also be able to provide a student of her choice with a two-year Florida College scholarship.

Matz was among five finalists recognized at a gala last week. The other four received $15,000 from the Department of Education. The dozens of other district Teachers of the Year get $10,000 as recognition “for their achievements and excellence in teaching,” according to the news release.

Matz will serve as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education for the year, which includes “working to create greater public awareness of Florida’s outstanding teachers and elevating the education profession.”

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Danielle J. Brown
Danielle J. Brown

Danielle J. Brown is a 2018 graduate of Florida State University, majoring in English with a focus in editing, writing, and media. While at FSU, she served as an editorial intern for International Program’s annual magazine, Nomadic Noles. Last fall, she fulfilled another editorial internship with Rowland Publishing, where she wrote for the Tallahassee Magazine, Emerald Coast Magazine, and 850 Business Magazine. She was born and raised in Tallahassee and reviews community theater productions for the Tallahassee Democrat. She spends her downtime traveling to all corners of Florida and beyond to practice lindy hop.