Our Teacher of the Month has spent 28 years building a culture of curiosity in the classroom. Angela Matteson’s 5th grade classroom at River Woods School in Naperville is filled with books, as she wants her students to be lifelong learners and readers. “Read aloud is probably my very favorite part of the day because we can all snuggle up together and talk about what we’re thinking and feeling and learning about life through the characters we read about,” Matteson said. The students are captivated by the stories and their nurturing teacher. “I love her reading stories to us,” student Ashley Drevalas said. “I would describe it as a comfortable place to learn.” From the encouraging words on the walls to the classroom pet Essie the turtle, the room feels like a home. It’s an environment that inspired Ashley Drevalas to nominate Mrs Matteson for teacher of the month. “I entered her because I wanted people to see how amazing she was and caring and how she encourages us throughout the day,” Ashley said. Matteson said teaching is an “awesome responsibility,” but she can’t imagine doing anything else. “It’s an honor, and I feel like Ashley did my job, she made me feel so special, and that’s what I want to be doing for my students. I just was thrilled,” Matteson said. For a job well done, Mrs Matteson received $1,000 from award sponsor attorney Ken Allen. “I think [teachers’] role in society is, unfortunately, under-recognized and under-valued, and I feel it’s appropriate to let them know we appreciate what they do,” Allen said.