Matt Horn Named 2017-18 State Finalist
The started out like any other school day for University City High School social studies teacher Matthew (Matt) Horn, until a parade of well wishers walked into his classroom and announced to students that Matt had just been named one of six finalists for Missouri State Teacher of the Year.
Matt’s nomination packet included student essays that were both funny and touching. They seemed to suggest that, regardless of the outcome of the competition, he -- and his students -- are already winners. The celebration will continue throughout the day and on to football practice where Matt is assistant varsity football coach for the U. City Lions.
Matt uses both his positions to make important and lasting connections with students. “I have the ability to build genuine relationship with people,” he says, explaining the theme that was echoed in the student essays. “You have to make learning personal,” Matt explains. “If a student doesn’t trust you or is not engaged, he’s going to shut down, but if you can build that relationship up, you are going to be a lot more successful in getting across to him.”
He says building those relationships pays off in the classroom every day. “Every year, you get a few students that might be struggling in a traditional (education) setting -- every teacher has that story. A student who might have struggled with other students or had problems in the past -- and, when you move them on the right trajectory, it’s a good feeling.”
The final announcement by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will come in September.
Following the announcement, community members have been sharing as well:
"Mr Horn taught my son History last year. My son is not fond of reading or writing. However, Mr. Horn was a great influence in my son's sophomore year at UCHS," shared UCHS parent Pilar Kellogg on NextDoor.com.
"A well-deserved honor for an exceptional teacher. Congratulations Mr. Horn!" commented Becky Immer on Facebook.