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Teacher of the Year gets a lift to Spoto High School

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image Ronald McDonald holds an umbrella for Spoto High School and Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year Cassandra Mattison. Photo Mitch Traphagen

"The whole reason why I think I exist is for you guys,” she said, speaking to her students.

By Mitch Traphagen

The band began to play and the cheerleaders cheered as the long stretch limousine pulled to a stop in front of Spoto High School in Riverview on Thursday, April 4. Ronald McDonald was there with an umbrella for the light rain that was falling and everyone was waiting for the newly named Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year, Spoto High School teacher Cassandra Mattison. Mattison was chosen for the honor during the annual Excellence in Education Awards on Thursday, March 28, at the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa.

The limousine ride was donated by Ambassador Limousine, a Tampa Bay area provider of limousine services. The company also donated rides to the other winning educators: Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year award winner Socorrito M. Claudio of Wimauma Elementary and Instructional Support Employee of the Year award winner Maryann Bordonaro of Essrig Elementary in Tampa.

Mattison, who in addition to teaching also serves as the head of the English department at Spoto, walked through the procession of saluting JROTC students, drums and cheerleaders to rousing applause and cheers from her students and fellow teachers assembled for a ceremony in her honor in the school auditorium, lead by Spoto principal Phil Carr.

During the ceremony she praised her fellow teachers and her students.

“I was here before the doors opened. I can tell you and they can tell you that this is not the same place we opened seven years ago,” Mattison said. “This school has become a success story and I could not be prouder to be a teacher here and I could not be prouder to be your teacher. The whole reason why I think I exist is for you guys,” she said, speaking to her students.

Tanya Doran of the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce presented Mattison with a plaque of appreciation from the Riverview community, thanking her for her dedication and service to the community and for making a lasting impact on families and children.

Mattison, a Tampa native in her ninth year of teaching, was chosen from more than 15,000 teachers in the Hillsborough County School District, the eighth largest district in the nation. She will go on to represent Hillsborough County in a Florida statewide competition. The winner of that competition will advance to a national competition.

Mattison resides in Riverview. Her husband Tim also teaches at Spoto High School.

Letters of congratulations may be sent to:
Spoto High School
8538 Eagle Palm Dr
Riverview, FL 33578
ATTN: Cassandra Mattison

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