CHICAGO,IL., Wed. Apr. 18, 2018– During a board meeting on February 19, Denise Matthews, a Belizean woman living in Chicago, was selected as the upcoming Director of Special Education for the District 90 schools in that US state. Matthews will take over the position on July 1. She is currently working as the Assistant Director of Specialized Student Services for Compliance, and she has also worked as assistant principal at Westmount High School and Oakland Park Elementary.
She began her journey right here in Belize City, where she was born and raised. She received her Associate degree in History and Literature from St. John’s College Junior College and her Bachelor’s degree in English/Language Arts Teacher Education from the University of Belize.
Matthews then worked as a teacher at her alma mater, Saint Catherine Academy, for a year before attending DePaul University in Chicago, where she got a Master’s degree in Language, Literacy and Specialized Instruction, as well as in Educational Leadership and Administration.
Matthews had also worked at KREM Radio for three years, reading the midday news and playing R&B ballads in the afternoon.
According to Matthews, she had originally aspired to be an attorney, but after taking classes in instruction at UB and teaching at Wesley College, she fell in love with teaching, and especially enjoyed special education.
Having learnt that she would be appointed as the next Director of Special Education, Matthews stated, “I was really proud when I learned that I was offered the position. It’s been a long but exciting and rewarding journey. As a Belizean, I’m proud of my accomplishment and hope I’m representing my country well.”
When asked about future goals along her career path, Matthews stated that she has a passion for working with individuals with disabilities and wants to continue to ensure that they receive the appropriate education to become integral members of society. She also stated another goal of seeing more inclusion of individuals with disabilities, and hopes she can facilitate this change in the US as well as here in Belize.