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Napa County Teacher of the Year is Calistoga's Matthew Gudenius

Napa County Teacher of the Year is Calistoga's Matthew Gudenius


Calistoga Elementary School teacher Matthew Gudenius has been honored by Napa County for his ongoing creativity in inspiring his students with Teacher of the Year for 2021. 

The first-grade teacher was recognized for going above and beyond the challenges during the past year of online learning by creating videos that have included dinosaurs, and dressing up as a pirate to emphasize the "R" sound for learning phonetics. 

"He is seriously dedicated. Parents loved the videos and they even went national," said Principal Nicole Lamare. "He is innovative, engaging, and truly has a passion for teaching." 

Mr. G, as he is known, has continued to foster a curiosity for learning in his students even as they have begun to return to the classroom this year, Lamare added. 

The process of being honored with Teacher of the Year for the county is pretty intense. Teachers need to be nominated by parents or administrators, submit an essay, and receive letters of recommendation.

Mr. G was awarded the distinction via Zoom last week by Dr. Barbara Nemko, Napa County Superintendent of Schools, who delivered the good news to the teacher, his students, Calistoga Joint Unified School District Superintendent Erin Smith-Hagberg and Principal Lamare.

Among his accolades for innovation, Mr. G was also featured in a 2014 Time Magazine piece about the coming paperless classroom. 

You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at 942-4035 or

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The Weekly Calistogan Editor

Cynthia Sweeney has been editor of The Weekly Calistogan since July, 2018. Previously, she was a reporter for the St. Helena Star, and North Bay Business Journal. She also spent a significant amount of time freelancing in Hawaii.

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