Matt Neilson Family

Teacher of the Year Matt Nielson and family (l-r): Matt, Kailee, Lane, Skye and Annette.

The tradition of the Teacher of the Year award began in Valley City Public Schools in 1983 as a way to recognize an extraordinary educator in the district each year. Each year since then, VCPS has bestowed upon one of these fine teachers the title of Teacher of the Year.

The 36th name on the list has just been announced, naming Matt Nielson as 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year.

Nielson teaches Chemistry and Physics at Valley City High School, also serving as the head coach for girls and boys tennis.

His “I think I want to be a teacher” moment came during his senior year of high school, when he took a Chemistry course with Valley City State University Professor Joe Stickler. During the course, Dr. Stickler put Nielson in charge of a study group.

“I was in charge of a bunch of college kids,” Nielson says, “and being a leader—being able to help other people gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. That’s when I knew I wanted to become a teacher.”

Read the full story in your Tuesday, May 19th Times-Record. Purchase a paper copy at the TR office, local gas stations, grocery stores or an electronic edition online at

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