Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Matthew Widaman gives a speech at the Kenai Peninsula 2015 BP Teachers of Excellence award ceremony after winning Teacher of the Year Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at the Alaska Christian College in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Matthew Widaman gives a speech at the Kenai Peninsula 2015 BP Teachers of Excellence award ceremony after winning Teacher of the Year Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at the Alaska Christian College in Soldotna, Alaska.

Honoring excellent educators

Teachers from across the Kenai Peninsula were honored for their work in local schools at the twentieth annual 2015 BP Teachers of Excellence award banquet Tuesday.

The Central Peninsula produced four winners, Jake Doth from Nikiski Middle-High School, Shannon Adair Dwyer from Skyview Middle School, James Harris from Soldotna High School and Matthew Widaman, who was named Teacher of the Year, from Kenai Central High School. Judy Gonzalves from West Homer Elementary was also named as a teacher of excellence.

“I am extremely proud of all of the recipients of the award,” said Superintendent Sean Dusek, who helped hand out the awards Tuesday evening. “It’s a great group of teachers that really exemplify what happens around the district. They do a great job.”

Dusek encouraged Widaman to say a few words after receiving his award for Teacher of the Year.

Widaman, who teaches career technology education, was nominated for his innovative program that brings relevant, updated training to Kenai Central High School students, Dusek said.

In the middle of his speech, Widaman laughed and noted that news travels fast among teachers. Fellow educator Sargent Truesdell, principal of Skyview Middle School, sent Widaman a text that said “You the man” to congratulate Widaman for his award.

“You do this for the students,” Widaman said. “An educator doesn’t go into this profession for the awards and accolades.”

Widaman thanked Secondary Education Director John O’Brien, as well as Kenai Central principal Alan Fields for supporting his programs.

Widaman began working for the school district in 2002, O’Brien said.

Widaman reapplied to work in the school district after spending a few years working in Wyoming, “it was a no-brainer to hire him back,” O’Brien said.

As soon as he was back, Widaman began asking O’Brien and school district Career Technology Education Coordinator Dan Bohrnsen for new classroom technologies.

“Matt has kept up with the latest technology in the Manufacturing, Construction and Architecture career pathways,” Bohrnsen said.

“He has exposed his students to these twenty-first century skills needed for success in our current workforce.”

Widaman’s students a proficient at using the 3D printers, CNC plasma machines, up-to-date welding equipment and AutoCad, which is the most widely used drafting program in the nation, Bohrnsen said.

Widaman will be assuming Bohrnsen’s position next fall as coordinator.

Dusek said the BP awards incorporate various community members including industry partners, educators, family and students into the decision to honor teachers. He said he is looking forward to continuing to recognize school district members who deserve praise for their work in Kenai Peninsula classrooms.


Reach Kelly Sullivan at




More in News

The Seward welcome sign is photographed in July 2021. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Seward vice mayor and council member resigns

The council accept the resignation of Tony Baclaan during its Monday night meeting.

Ben Mohr watches Kenai River Junior Classic participants head out to fish on the Kenai River in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
Mohr resigns as director of KRSA

He has been the executive director of KRSA for nearly three years.

Heather and Hunter Phillips walk through the Kenai Community Library Haunted Hunt with their mom Kumi Phillips on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Scary reads

Spooky literary characters come to life at Kenai library haunted house.

Alaska state Rep. Laddie Shaw, an Anchorage Republican, waits for the start of a so-called technical session on the House floor, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska. The fourth special legislative session of the year began Oct. 4, in Juneau, but there has been little action at the Capitol and little progress toward resolving Alaska’s fiscal issues. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
Special session plods on with little action

Many legislative offices have been dark and floor sessions in some cases have lasted seconds.

The Kenai Community Library health section is seen on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. After the Kenai City Council postponed a vote to approve a grant funding health and wellness books, community members set up a GoFundMe to support the purchase of materials. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
After cries of censorship, community raises funds for library

The Kenai City Council voted during its Oct. 20 meeting to postpone acceptance of a $1,500 grant for materials related to health and wellness.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
11 new deaths reported

Statewide there were 244 COVID-related hospitalizations as of Tuesday, with 37 of them on ventilators.

Rep. Don Young talks during a June 2021 interview with the Empire. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Young to face off with a Begich yet again

Young, 88, seemed unfazed by Begich’s entry into the race.

A remote galaxy captured by the Hubble Space Telescope is greatly magnified and distorted by the effects of gravitationally warped space. (Image via NASA)
Grant brings NASA to library

The grant supports science, technology, engineering, arts and math programming for patrons.

Most Read