VERDE VALLEY EDUCATOR OF THE WEEK: Jane Mathews
CAMP VERDE – If Jane Mathews wasn’t a high school counselor, she’d have wanted to be a race car drive – or a train conductor.
“Because I love to drive,” she says.
So imagine how pleased her boss is that she found her way to the classroom.
Camp Verde High School Principal Jason Douvikas says he “knew right away” that Mathews was special “based on how she cared about our students.”
“Jane makes a difference by keeping kids on track to graduate, helping with scholarships, and always being there for our kids when they need to talk to someone,” Douvikas says. “Jane’s biggest strength is caring for kids. She really is a bleeding heart for our students.”
At Camp Verde Unified School District for her entire 24-year career in education, Mathews spent her first seven years in the classroom as a middle school teacher.
It was as a 14-year-old new to Camp Verde when she realized that she wanted to be an educator.
“I grew up participating in gymnastics in Tucson where I competed,” Mathews says. “When I moved to Camp Verde to be with my dad, this small community had no formal competitive gymnastics without major traveling. I was asked to help coach a gymnastics class here for students younger than myself and absolutely loved working with students. That was my first realization that I loved teaching.”
What’s Mathews’ favorite part about teaching? “I love helping students in all facets of life, whether it be problem-solving, crisis counseling, planning high school courses, career counseling and helping students to dream,” Mathews says. “There is nothing more exciting than helping a student come up with a plan for their future.”
“As for counseling approaches, my two favorites are Solution Focused Brief therapy and Cognitive Behavioral therapy,” Mathews said.
“The first focuses on solutions instead of problems, and the second focuses on our thoughts and how they directly related to how we feel.”
DID YOU KNOW?
Mathews was a middle school teacher for seven years. “But that was a long time ago.”
Mathews married her high school sweetheart two years after she graduated from high school.
“He was in the construction industry, so we moved around a lot,” Mathews says. “I had to transfer colleges five different times by the time I earned my Bachelor’s Degree. I look back and think, ‘wow, I was pretty tenacious to get that done.’”
“By nature, I am not a flashy competitive person who strives to be seen,” Mathews said. “My goal in life is to make a difference.”
“I love this community. My family has been raised in this community. My job has allowed me to have had the privilege in these last 24 years to work with a variety of organizations and people in all different walks of life collaborating on many different projects.”
Mathews attributes one of her favorite quotes to Bethany Hill: “Every child you pass in the hall has a story that needs to be heard. Maybe you are the one meant to hear it.”