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Tue, July 23

Q&A with Verde Valley Teacher of the Week: Matt Bazzill
sixth-grade teacher, American Heritage Academy

Kimberley Brady, Thalia Rocha and Diego Gonzalez, from left, sixth grade students at Cottonwood’s American Heritage Academy, turn in their assignments to teacher Matt Bazzill. VVN/Bill Helm

Kimberley Brady, Thalia Rocha and Diego Gonzalez, from left, sixth grade students at Cottonwood’s American Heritage Academy, turn in their assignments to teacher Matt Bazzill. VVN/Bill Helm

COTTONWOOD – Before Matt Bazzill became a teacher, he studied Chinese medicine, martial arts, and acupuncture. Though he still love these things, Bazzill does not practice them in the classroom.

At American Heritage Academy’s Cottonwood campus, Bazzill’s commitment to the classroom has lasted 16 years.

“Like many folks who come across us in our lives, we oftentimes know when someone is special right away,” said Eric Evans, principal at the Cottonwood campus of American Heritage. “As I got to talk to and get to know Mr. Bazzill, the more and more I valued and respected him, both as a teacher, a mentor, and as a person.”

The school’s K-6 lead teacher, Bazzill also assists with many extra duties “involving many aspects of the entire side of the K-6 campus,” Evans said.

“He is professional, yet laid back and approachable,” Evans said. “He is easy to get along with, the kids love him, he loves them back, and he has wonderful relationship building skills, shows compassion to all, and is a true pillar of AHA.”

It was while studying at Yavapai College when Bazzill first knew he wanted to be an educator.

The “connections that I make with the kids each year” are what Bazzill likes most about being in the classroom.

“The fact that I still get acknowledged after many years by former students is very rewarding,” he said. “I love to share my love of learning.”

The way that Evans sees it, there are “countless ways” that Bazzill makes a difference at American Heritage Academy.

“He is rational, not quick to judge, or to haste, has a genuine care and regard for those around him, and really has a passion and a motivation to see children grow, learn, make healthy choices, and succeed,” Evans said.

Verde Valley Newspapers:

Explain your teaching style.

Matt Bazzill:

“I would say my style is a combination of relaxed but methodical. I like to be open to changing it up and watching for those teachable moments while staying the course and including the needed content.”

VVN:

Tell us something notable about your career.

Bazzill:

“I was nominated for district teacher of the year in 2017, which was an honor.”

VVN:

Do you have a favorite quote?

Bazzill:

“There is always one. Sometimes there is a child that just needs a little more than the others. It may not be educational at all, but emotional. They may just need a safe and loving place to be every day. Let’s find that child.”

VVN:

Is there anything you do not like about teaching?

Bazzill:

“I wish that I could meet all the needs of every student. Sometimes this isn’t possible and that is disappointing.”

 -- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42

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