Main menu


FSU College of Education Welcomes Initiative to Support Florida's 2023 Teacher of the Year

Melissa Matz, 7th grade math teacher at Lakeside Middle School in Clay County, was named the 2023 Florida Teacher of the Year.

As part of its commitment to supporting the teaching profession, the Florida State University School of Education has awarded Melissa Matz, Florida’s 2023 Teacher of the Year, a three-year tuition waiver for her advanced degree.

Matz, a seventh-grade math teacher at Lakeside Middle School in Clay County, said the tuition waiver helps her “have a greater impact on her students, colleagues and community.”

The College of Education welcomed the tuition fee waiver as another success of Project ElevatED. This is a university-based initiative that recruits, trains and retains more educators into the workforce and recognizes their important work.

“We are proud of the work we have accomplished through Project ElevatED,” said Damon Andrew, Dean of the College of Education. “The teaching profession is the foundation of our society and nothing is more rewarding than supporting teachers who work so hard for our children. We are happy to help, and we want teachers to know that FSU College of Education is a beacon of their support.”

Launched in 2019, Project ElevatED recently surpassed $2 million in scholarships awarded to students at the College of Education and is now awarding a total of $2.61 million.

The program has also prepared more than 1,200 professionals to teach K-12 classrooms and provided nearly 3,000 care packages to FSU graduates working in school districts statewide. Care packages include Cimarron stuffed animals, pencils, hand sanitizer, masks, information about the ElevatED/FSU College of Education, and a letter from the dean thanking the teachers.

Additionally, Project ElevatED received the prestigious John L. Blackburn Award for Academic Innovation from the American Association of University Administrators (AAUA) in June. The award, named after an administrator who worked at his FSU in the 1950s, recognizes initiatives that “demonstrate creative solutions to common problems in higher education.”

Project ElevatED maintains a multi-pronged approach to solving key challenges facing the education profession in Florida.

AAUA President and CEO Dan King said: “Project ElevatED addresses this need through the development of creative and inspirational strategies to get future students interested in the teaching profession. It deserves this high recognition for what it has achieved in Florida, but more importantly because it has a vision of a program that will inspire other colleges of education to engage in similar educator development efforts. Worth it. This is a model program that really deserves attention.”

The initiative will also support teachers and education professionals already in the field through access to professional development opportunities, recognition programs and more. Opportunities include several online programs that offer flexibility to teachers looking to continue their education.

“Project ElevatED is a breathtaking continuum of innovation that will require the dedication and commitment of all faculty and staff at the university and their leadership,” said Jerry Neuner, Vice Chair of the AUAA Board of Directors. mentioned with reference to the university. “This clearly represents a complete rethinking and revitalization of the relationship between colleges, states and school districts.”

Consider Mats. She was named the 2023 Florida Teacher of the Year by the Florida Department of Education. This led her to serve as Christa McAuliffe Education Ambassador for her one year, raising her public awareness of Florida’s outstanding teachers and education professionals.

“I am proud to represent Florida’s incredible educators who have dedicated their lives to the success of their students and the next generation,” she said. “We believe education is the key to empowering our communities and ourselves. That is why I am so grateful to have been awarded a tuition waiver to pursue a graduate degree at Florida State University School of Education. We appreciate.”

For more information about FSU College of Education, visit For more information on Project ElevatedED, visit