Did you, by any chance, happen to hear a collective shout of joy erupting from Harrison School recently? If you did, it may have been the reaction from the staff and students when it was announced that music teacher Michele Matten has been named Harrison’s 2016 Teacher of the Year! There is no doubt that this dedicated educator deserves this recognition. She is seemingly unflappable as she travels to three different schools teaching General Music and Chorus as well as providing the music for various school-wide and grade level events. She is an enthusiastic collaborator with teachers across all disciplines, and continually strives to engage her students through innovative methods and techniques.
Here are some interesting facts about this beloved teacher:
Mrs. Matten has been teaching for 24 years – all of them in Livingston, with Harrison as her home school.
She knew she wanted to teach, and realized it should be music because she never wanted to give up playing the piano, which she started learning at five years old.
In addition to playing the piano, Mrs. Matten played clarinet in high school, and saxophone in her college marching band.
She graduated from Glassboro State College (now Rowan University), where she received an award for being the top graduating music major.
She and her husband, Ian, have two sons – Louie, 15 years old, and Timmy, 9 years old.
In her “free time” (is there such a thing when you are a working mom?) she loves to attend sporting events and enjoys watching her boys play baseball and basketball.
Two of her favorite things about teaching elementary music are:
Watching her students grow from kindergarteners to fifth graders and getting to know siblings and families.
Discovering students who have talent in music, especially when the students may not have realized it themselves.