Kearney principal, UNK alumna Katie Mathews receives national award

By SARA GIBONEY, UNK Communications

KEARNEY – Longtime Kearney Public Schools administrator Katie Mathews is the 2017 National Distinguished Principal representing Nebraska.

mathews-katie-3The national award, presented by National Association of Elementary School Principals and Nebraska Council of School Administrators, was given to Mathews Friday at the Principals’ Conference at Kearney’s Younes Conference Center.

Mathews is the principal at Kearney’s Park Elementary School and a University of Nebraska at Kearney alumna, earning her Specialist Degree in school superintendency from UNK in 2001.

The National Distinguished Principal program honors “outstanding elementary and middle-level administrators who ensure that children acquire a solid foundation for lifelong learning and achievement,” according to the award description.

Mathews will join 51 other honorees in October 2017 in Washington, D.C., for an awards dinner.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Hastings College and her master’s degree in educational policy and administration from Kansas University.

Mathews taught kindergarten and second grade in Kansas, worked as the staff development specialist at ESU 9 in Hastings and has worked as principal of Park Elementary for over 20 years.

She has been selected for many leadership training opportunities, including: Kansas City, Kan., Master Teacher Program; Kansas City, Kan., Trainer of Teachers in Drug Prevention Curriculum; University of Nebraska-Lincoln Leadership in Assessment Cohort; NCSA Leadership Cohort with the Gallup Institute; and Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Leadership Tomorrow.

Mathews has also provided leadership in professional organizations, including: Nebraska Association for Elementary School Principals, Nebraska Association for Supervision and Development, Nebraska Department of Education Board, Hastings College Alumni Board of Directors, Kearney Family YMCA Board, UNK Chancellor’s Committee for Skills and Success; Friends of Make-A-Wish Council, Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce Envoys and Holy Cross Lutheran Church Board.

Mathews was also the Fulbright Scholarship recipient for the International Administrator Exchange with Thailand.


Writer: Sara Giboney, 308.865.8529,
Source: Tori Stofferson, 308.698.8028,