Congratulations to Amy Matts for winning the Award for Excellence in High School Teaching !

Amy Matts - Spackenkill High School, Poughkeepsie, NY

Amy Matts - Spackenkill High School, Poughkeepsie, NY


Amy Matts started her professional life as an engineer at IBM. She decided that a full-time teaching position would lend itself better to also having a family, so obtained a teaching certification for both Chemistry and Physics, after which she began a new teaching career at Spackenkill High School. Her unusually varied background enabled her to make classroom learning more interesting by supplementing book learning with real-life examples and demonstrations. Amy has now been a teacher for more than two decades, teaching AP, Honors, and Regents levels.

In addition to her teaching duties, Amy runs the school’s science fairs, and frequently recruits her former IBM colleagues for National Chemistry Week activities, as well as the Science Olympiad (which she started) to contribute. Having done the latter for more than 20 years, her teams have won many regional, as well as state-wide, awards.

More recently, Amy has been a mentor and facilitator for a program known as Authentic Science Research. In this program, students are paired with businesses and institutions to learn about something in which they have a strong interest. The conclusion of the program is a poster session where the students describe and explain their unique project. Her students have won a myriad of awards in a variety of competitions.

Amy’s genuine love for teaching and mentoring is highlighted by her strong support letters from colleagues, and from former students. The Board of the Northeast Region of the American Chemical Society congratulates Amy Matts on her well-deserved ACS Division of Chemical Education Northeast Region Award for Excellence in High School Teaching.


Purpose: To recognize, encourage, and stimulate outstanding teachers of high school chemistry in the Northeast Region of the American Chemical Society (NERACS).

Nature: The Region Award consists of a cash award and a plaque.  Reasonable travel expenses to the Regional Meeting at which the award will be presented will be reimbursed (see below).  A certificate/plaque may also be provided to the recipient’s institution for display. The awardee may be asked to give a keynote address and/or participate in a symposium with other teachers, usually at a future meeting.

Presentation: The Award will be presented at the Northeast Regional Meeting of the ACS in Saratoga, NY.  The Awards Banquet will be held Tuesday, June 25, 2019.  It is expected that the winner will attend at least the Banquet, if not talks/symposia of professional interest to him/her. The awardee will be reimbursed for expenses by NERACS as follows: (1) transportation costs in the form of the equivalent of direct fuel expense for distance traveled; (2) two tickets to the Awards Banquet; (3) up to two nights’ lodging in the meeting hotel.