On February 28, MusiCounts, Canada’s leading music education charity, announced that Laura Lee Matthie of Orillia Secondary School in Orillia, ON is the 2018 recipient of the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award. The surprise announcement took place in Matthie’s classroom with her excited students and colleagues. Matthie was honoured for her outstanding dedication to inspiring the musical growth of her students, with some going on to become music teachers themselves.

“Laura Lee has a long-standing reputation of excellence, and has made an impact on her students and the music education community,” said Kristy Fletcher, Executive Director, MusiCounts. “We’re impressed by Laura Lee’s teaching innovations, and how she has inspired students to pursue music beyond the classroom. We were honoured to visit Orillia Secondary School today and recognize Laura Lee as the 2018 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award recipient.”

Matthie will receive $10,000 plus a significant contribution to her school’s music program. In addition, she will experience VIP treatment throughout JUNO Week, receiving her Award at the Chairman’s Reception, attending the JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards and will walk the red carpet at the JUNO Awards Broadcast on March 25 in Vancouver.

Matthie has been a music teacher for 22 years, two and half of which have been spent at Orillia Secondary School. Matthie is the recipient of the 2015 Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) Excellence in Education Teaching Award, and shows her passion for music through her tireless efforts to promote music education in her school and community. Matthie has been working on a project called “Teachers Taking Out Grades” which is focused on the intrinsic value of learning rather than on the grade, resulting in a remarkable increase in engagement for her students. Matthie also serves as the Arts Department Chair at Orillia Secondary School, Treasurer of the Ontario Music Educators’ Association and co-chair for the Ontario Music Educators’ Conference. She delivers workshops within the school, her board and at faculties of education.

“It is a huge honour to receive this award,” said Laura Lee Matthie. “It goes out to my students, all of my teachers and fellow colleagues across Canada. Thank you, MusiCounts.”

(Photo Credit: Barry Roden)

Ashley Sperling