Hillsborough Teacher of the Year Finalist Surprised at Spoto High School
The principal of Spoto High School said it was an honor to witness Cassandra Mattison receive recognition as a 2013 Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year finalist. He first met her as a student at King High School.
Spoto High School Principal Phil Carr said it was an honor to be part of the Jan. 18 “surprise patrol” that announced to teacher Cassandra Mattison her selection as a finalist for consideration of this year’s Teacher of the Year award for Hillsborough County.
“I was the assistant principal for student affairs when she was a student at King High School,” Carr said. “She was a gifted student then and she’s a gifted teacher now and the award is well-deserved.”
Moments later, Carr was on his way, with representatives from the surprise patrol, to Mattison’s classroom, where students sat in anticipation of the start of their semester exam.
“This is one of the joys of my job, to do this,” Mattison said.
In the classroom, the patrol waited, with students looking on, as Mattison entered moments later with a surprised look on her face. She said later that she thought, as the department head for the school’s English department, that she was going to have to address “an exam issue.”
That wasn’t even close, which she learned when Bob Conigliaro, vice president of community relations for the Caspers Company McDonald’s restaurants, told her the reason for the patrol’s visit. He added that from among the seven countywide finalists for 2012-13 Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year, one would be selected March 28 to represent the county in statewide competition.
The winner there will advance to national competition.
Down the hall, Tim Mattison teaches social studies.
He took a short break to witness his wife’s reaction to being named a Teacher of the Year finalist.
“She’s awesome,” he said later. “She works really hard, she’s dedicated and Spoto is blessed to have her as a teacher.”
What was his wife thinking when she received the TOY plaque, standing next to Ronald McDonald and representatives from the Hillsborough Education Foundation, her school and the Suncoast Federal Credit Union?
“I was thinking, ‘Wow,’ but I’m one person,” Mattison said. “I represent this team here at Spoto High School and we all work so hard to make our students successful. It’s not something that I’ve done on my own. I’m just one person able to represent all that hard work.”
Mattison said she was a senior at King High School, in the Advanced Placement (AP) Literature class, when she gave a presentation that caused her King High Schol teacher, Dan Barr, to pull her over. He said, “Go get your master’s [degree] and teach this class,' and that’s what I did,” she said.