The Apache Junction Unified School District handed out its teacher of the year, students of the year and classified employee of the year awards at the May 11 Governing Board meeting.
The 2021 classified employee of the year was Laura Thomas, office manager at Desert Vista Elementary School.
The 2021 students of the year were:
The 2021 teachers of the year were Courtney Campbell from Peralta Trail, Jason Davis from Cactus Canyon, Candyce Matlosz from Apache Junction and rookie of the year was Ryan Cameron from Cactus Canyon.
Here’s what their respective principals wrote about each winner:
“It is the desire of every quality educator to engage and inspire all students to innovate, achieve and succeed by ensuring high-quality instruction in a safe and supportive environment. Ms. Courtney Campbell exemplifies this daily,” Peralta Trail Principal Natalie Clement said. “She is strategic, prepared, engaging, firm and loving. Ms. Campbell masterfully executes powerful lessons comprised of stands-based content, challenging material and engaging activities, while ensuring it is accessible to all learners. Her high expectations push students to be better than they were the day before while her love and acceptance convinces them that they can. Ms. Campbell in her own words states, ‘My goal is that every student falls in love with learning because of the amazing doors it opens in their lives.’”
“Mr. Davis is a teacher that you can only describe as magic. The atmosphere of his classroom is fun and exciting and he puts 110% into everything he does,” Cactus Canyon Principal Chad Cantrell said. “The very first time I walked into Mr. Davis’s room he was standing on a desk guiding his kids through a few yoga poses. He said they were tired so they needed to wake up. The second time I went to his room, he was standing on a desk — again — leading his kids in call-and-response that would make any preacher proud. Mr. Davis makes learning fun. In addition, he leads our nationally recognized, award-winning yearbook. Mr. Davis is truly an amazing teacher.”
“Candyce Matlosz is an outstanding teacher. Candyce has taught English 9, 10, 11 and 12. Additionally, she has taught AP and Freshman Focus,” Apache Junction Principal Dr. Chris Lineberry said. “Candyce is an invaluable member of our site council, is the chair of our committee to improve academic achievement and is our English Department chair. Candyce has been with the district for more than 20 years, cares deeply about kids, has been a teacher-leader on campus and is a shining example of a knowledgeable, caring, whole-child advocate who holds her students to the highest standards. Candyce is a Prospector through and through and is highly deserving of this recognition.”
“Ryan Cameron has been an incredible addition to the Cactus Canyon family this year,” Cactus Canyon Principal Cantrell said. “Watching him teach, you would never know that he is a first-year teacher. Mr. Cameron’s success can be attributed to the outstanding relationships he has developed with his students and peers. Mr. Cameron works hard each day to develop wonderful, involved lessons for his students and keeps them engaged through positive conversation and support. Mr. Cameron is already an excellent teacher so early in his career and we are excited to see what Mr. Cameron will do next.”
The board also recognized the 2020 teachers and rookie of the year: Lisa Smith (Cactus Canyon), Alexis Scott (The Learning Center), Andie Young (AJHS) and rookie Jenna Zimmer (Desert Vista).