DPS names Hillside High School Retired First Sergeant Jeffery Matthews as Teacher of the Year

Amber Rupinta Image
Friday, May 3, 2024
Durham Public Schools name JROTC instructor as Teacher of the Year
The DPS Teacher of the Year will receive gifts such as a framed certificate, a $1,000 award, and other goodies from sponsors.

DURHAM.N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham Public Schools named First Sergeant Jeffery Matthews as the 2023-2024 Teacher of the Year.

The annual event was held Thursday and celebrated the top teachers in the school district.

Matthews, a retired Army veteran, from Angier is a JROTC Instructor and has taught at Hillside High School for more than 7 years.

"This is another thing that's a blessing for me for giving back to the blessings of teaching," Matthews said. "This outweighs the wars and just doing military service, giving back to the kids, seeing them grow, seeing them mature. It's just an inspiration for any veteran or any teacher to have."

This year's other finalists were Morandi Hurst, who is a humanities teacher at Lakewood Montessori, and Yaritza Prendergast who is an 8th-grade science teacher and assistant coach at Neal Middle.

Last year's winner Hillside High School's Jahara Davisalso attended the event to pass the torch to her successor. ABC11 Anchor Amber Rupinta emceed during the special celebration that featured music provided by the R.N. Harris Eagle Band.

Hurst and Prendergast received a framed certificate and an award of $500.

As Teacher of the Year, Matthews received a framed certificate, $1,000 award, a laptop from Lenovo, an overnight stay, $50 dining credit at The Durham Hotel, and other goodies from sponsors. He was also surprised with a new car. A representative from Mark Jacobson Toyota made the special announcement just before the winner was unveiled at the awards ceremony banquet held at The Cotton Room in Durham.