Teacher of the Year, Matthew Yount, Atlantis Elementary
Matthew Yount, a fifth/sixth grade teacher from Atlantis Elementary, won this year’s title of Brevard Public School’s Teacher of the Year (TOY). The twelve year veteran of teaching, Matthew utilizes his skills as a teacher and leader to establish relationships that go above and beyond the norm.
Admittedly, Matthew’s path to becoming a teacher wasn’t all what he expected.
Inspired by the television show “Matlock,” his favorite movie, “A Few Good Men,” and family members who were in the military, he accepted a ROTC scholarship which would pay for all his education to become a lawyer in the service. After the first year, he realized something was missing and knew he wasn’t meant to be a lawyer. After some soul searching and praying, he turned in his scholarship and returned home to attend Brevard Community College (now EFSC) he then transferred to UCF and graduated with a degree in education with honors.
A chance meeting led him to interview at Country Acres, a group home for children who have suffered abuse, neglect and/or abandonment. It wasn’t where he imagined beginning his career but he went to the interview and his perspective changed when the children came home from school. “I could hear the shattering glass of my expectations in my head,” he said.
“It was a formative experience for me,” Matthew explained. “I worked with children as old as 17 and as young as five.” The children he worked with were living with all kinds of disabilities and emotional issues. “I perfected my craft from a relationship perspective. I learned I needed to form relationships first.”
After six years he made the move to join the public school system. “I joke I’ve never done the same job twice.” He worked with other teachers in exceptional education classrooms. Now, in his second year at Atlantis Elementary in Port St. John, he started this year in fifth grade and then transitioned to sixth grade.
“I’m not motivated by test scores, I’m motivated by people.”
The ABC (Applauding Brevard’s Champions) Awards Gala, presented by Community Credit Union and hosted by Brevard Schools Foundation recognized and revealed the winners of various categories including: Administrators of the Year, Volunteers of the Year, Foundation Awards of Distinction, Employee of the Year (EOY), and the Teacher of the Year (TOY).
Matthew credits three characteristics for making him a successful teacher:
Relationships: “I genuinely care about their success in life,” he said. “The things I teach are part of a success story in life.”
Humor & fun: “I use horrible, corny jokes.”
Understanding: “Meet them where they’re at as best you can, emotionally physically, mentally.”
He describes receiving the recognition as teacher of the year in one word, surreal. “I still have to remind myself that it is real,” he said. “This profession is the most powerful profession there is. I wish every teacher could feel the honor.”