LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Mike Matiash

Position: Seventh Grade Social Studies Teacher
School: Plainview-Elgin-Millville 7-8 Jr. High
School District: Plainview-Elgin-Millville Community Schools
City, State: Elgin, MN

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Mike Matiash was nominated by his principal, Clark Olstad

Mr. Matiash is an incredible educator who gives his heart and soul every year to his students. He has very high expectations for all students and holds them accountable for their academics and behavior. Mr. Matiash is extremely well respected by his peers, students, and parents.

Olstad recalls many conversations about students over the past several years with Mr. Matiash. At all times, Mr. Matiash discusses his beliefs about what is best the students. He is an educator who does not treat all students the same. Instead, he truly gets to know each child, their strengths and weaknesses, their family and more. Mr. Matiash accommodates, modifies, challenges or enriches depending on exactly what each child needs to be successful.

"The vintage commercial of E. F. Hutton from the 1970's reminds me a lot of Mr. Matiash," Olstad said. "The commercial always pointed out that when E. F. Hutton talks, people listen. Honestly, Mr. Matiash is very similar to this commercial. When he makes a comment, suggestion, or brings up an idea at school in an educational meeting with colleagues, it is amazing to observe how his peers stop what they are doing and pay close attention to his thoughts and details. I believe that his colleagues listen to him and support his ideas because he is very knowledgeable, always puts the students first, and gives things a great deal of thought before sharing his ideas."

Mr. Matiash has also been very instrumental in creating clubs after school and encourages students to get involved. He knows that there is much more to school than just teaching curriculum, so he does his best to get students to join extra-curricular activities and clubs. He also understands that for a child to truly feel good about themselves, they must feel like they belong. Not all students are athletic, and many are not interested in traditional academic extra-curricular activities, so Mr. Matiash strongly supports a variety of clubs. The concept of offering many clubs at school has been mainly successful because of Mr. Matiash’s efforts.

"Mr. Matiash has many strengths as an educator, but one of his best strengths is his ability to support every child and never give up on them," Olstad said. "I know this sounds cliché, but it is the very truth with Mr. Matiash. I have known him for many years, and I can honestly say he never gives up on a child and will continue to try a new method or strategy to help that student be successful."

Olstad recalled a quote from William Arthur Ward that reminded him of Mr. Matiash, "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires."

"Mr. Matiash is in the category of great teacher because he has the ability to inspire students to do their best. He is, and will continue to be, a LifeChanger to many students and families at Plainview-Elgin-Millville Community Schools!” Olstad said.