Yvonne Reed Matthews recently retired from Mobile County Public School System, bringing to the end a 32-year career. Her first assignment was Mae Eanes Middle School where she taught General Music, Chorus, Reading, and English. She was an instructor at John L. LeFlore School of Communication and Arts, teaching Chorus and Piano Lab.
At each school, she took programs that had limited numbers of students and grew those programs to record numbers. Her choirs at each school consistently received overall superior ratings at choral festivals.
While at LeFlore, her Advanced Chorus was privileged to perform with the Mobile Symphony Orchestra, Mobile Ballet, Mobile Opera, Musica Sacra, at Carnegie Hall under the direction of the renowned conductor John Rutter,
and in LeFlore’s own Black History production that was presented annually at the Mobile Civic Center Theatre. Yvonne served in dual capacities at LeFlore as an administrator and choral conductor. She served at Citronelle High School and Theodore High School as assistant principals. She was principal of Blount High School.
During her two years there, she improved the Average Yearly Progress in academics to the highest scores that the school had ever realized. She also garnered over $200,000.00 in capital improvements for the campus to include a baseball field and impressive wrought iron fencing. She recently retired as an assistant principal at Williamson High School, her alma mater. During her four years at Williamson, the graduation rate improved from 37% to 81% and she oversaw the start of Williamson’s new Signature Academies with the acquisition of over $550,000.00 in grants.
For two years, she served as music coordinator for University of Mobile’s Brazil’s Missions, presenting gospel music in schools and throughout villages and towns of the country. Yvonne Matthews has been named Teacher of the Year, once at Mae Eanes and two times at LeFlore. She was selected MCPSS High School Teacher of the Year for Jacksonville State University’s Teachers’ Hall of Fame, and was selected by a panel for the state’s honor of the secondary teacher of the year for the Hall of Fame. She is a member of National Education Association, MCEA, CLAS, and NASSP. As an undergraduate, she pledged the Epsilon Upsilon Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, and Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity for women in music. She has received numerous awards
and her accomplishments have been noted in the Mobile Register, the Chamber of Commerce’s The Leading Edge, Mobile Bay Monthly and AMEA’s Ala Breve. Mrs. Matthews now serves as Program Director of Educational Programs for the 100 Black Men of Greater Mobile and as a consultant the Signature Academies of Williamson High School. Education is still at the forefront of her life.
The founder of the gospel singing group – Nu Image, Yvonne Matthews and Nu Image released a CD in 2014. They also sponsor annually, Youth On the Winning Side (YOTWS), a music event for youth and young people. This year Nu Image would have celebrated its 30th year of YOTWS.
From the age of three when she performed her first song in church, to the present, music has carried Mrs. Matthews from state to state, out of the country, to college campuses, to concert halls, to parks, to theaters, to churches and synagogues. In 1981, Yvonne was a charter member of Port City United Voices, an affiliate of the Gospel Music Workshop of America. Although she no longer performs with them, she is a board member of the organization. Her classical training at the University of South Alabama where she received a Bachelor of Music degree in piano and a Master of Education degree, and her upbringing in church music (her father – a pianist, her mother – a songwriter) at Saint Joseph Baptist Church, have produced a musician who ventures into many genres of music and the theatrical arts. She currently is the minister of music at Nazaree Full Gospel Church. She is a member of Bella Voce, a choir of female singers who perform classical music.
She was the musical director for Hear the Voices Ring, a Black History production that was presented at the Saenger Theatre, and Nine to Five the Musical that was presented by Mobile Theatre Guild. She reunited with jazz guitarist, Dennis “Finger Roll” Nelson, collaborating and performing Gospel jazz renditions in various venues.
In December 2019, Yvonne, along with 3 other accomplished singers and musicians, toured Italy and Switzerland as Sonya Williams and the Voices.
Upon returning to the US, she released her first solo project – GLAD – on February 7, 2020. On February 8, it was ranked #20 in Christian Music on iTunes.
Her two music videos have also been very successful on Facebook garnering 1 million views for Glad and 603, 000 views for I Owe You Me. She is currently completing a Christmas EP. Her very supportive husband, Carlton, helps to make her involvement in so many venues possible.