Alumni Spotlight: Tanya Mathieu 2015

Tanya Mathieu, class of 2015, has just been nominated for the Kansas Teacher of the Year 2024 award by the Olathe School District. The Westview Elementary first-grade teacher is one of two district nominees.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from MNU in 2015, Tanya continued her graduate studies at Emporia State University earning a Master of Science in Teaching Specialist. Tanya graduated as a mature student and found her professors at MNU to be exceptionally helpful.

“I would like to thank Dr. Ramona Stowe and Ms. Pam Burrus for their continued encouragement and support as I enrolled in the Accelerated Primary Education Program,” Tanya said. “Returning to school at 37 had its challenges and these teachers ensured that the program was rigorous but viable. They ensured that all graduates were ready for the real world of education.

All of Tanya’s years of service in education have been in Olathe Public Schools. From joining the OPS team as a para-educator to eventually becoming a teacher, students have always been her top priority.

“The students in my class are the axis on which all my objective is centered. They are the basis of all my decisions and the goal of all my endeavors,” Tanya said. “They are, quite simply, all the interest. It is my absolute pleasure to spend each day in the presence of the incredible spirits and limitless potential of the tiny humans I care for.

Westview Elementary Principal Cynthia Kapeller comments that Tanya’s positive influence is evident in the results for her students and her interactions with her colleagues.

“It was amazing to watch how Tanya creates a culture of belonging, responsibility and achievement in her kindergarten and first grade classrooms,” says Kapeller. “I love her eternal vision that anything is possible with passion and effort. Along with being a master teacher to her students, she is deeply invested in her colleagues. Tanya builds and helps improve everyone around her. I am grateful to be engaged in the important work of raising children with Tanya!”

The Kansas Teacher of the Year Award recognizes and utilizes exponents of excellent teaching in elementary and secondary classrooms across the state. State award winners move on to National Curriculum Teacher of the Year.