Team Spotlight – Matt Williams

December’s Team Spotlight is on Matt Williams, a Special Education Teacher at John Tuck Elementary!

What does your role at John Tuck Elementary entail?
I work predominately with special education students in the 4th & 5th grade at John Tuck Elementary. I teacher reading, writing, math and social skills small groups and collaborate with classroom teachers for core classes.
How long have you worked for RSD & what did you do before coming here?
This is my first year with RSD! I spent 10 years as a special education teacher at the high school level in Anchorage, Alaska. I have also taught in Minnesota and got the opportunity to do my student teaching in New Zealand.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
The most rewarding part of my role is encouraging and providing opportunities for success for a group of students that do not often experience success. Another part I have found rewarding is being a positive male role model for the young boys in our school. They have lots of questions and really seek you out in an elementary school.
What persuaded you to work in education?

I chose to work in special education after working with a young boy who has Down syndrome in high school and college. He was a great family friend and I realized the need for male teachers in the world of special education. It has never been in doubt that this is what I wanted to do (except for the that brief semester my freshman year when I took pre-engineering courses). Sometimes you can’t hide who you are. I am from a long line of teachers and I just get pumped when I am working with kids
Is there anything else that you’d like to share?

When my wife and I were looking for a place to move from Anchorage, we were very impressed with the specific direction and focus that RSD had.  We could tell they were working hard to form an identity and attract strong teachers to the district. It was an easy choice.  I have been really impressed with the direction of the district and the level of teachers and administrators throughout.
One idea I had in my mind when we were moving was if you go to a place that it is competitive to get a job and a desirable place to live you will find there will be strong people within the district. That idea has been shown to be totally accurate!
My wife Tiffany and I commercial fish in Bristol Bay, Alaska in the summers and have done this for 10 years. We will continue to do this in the summer right when school is finished up through July.  We also have a beautiful white husky named Belle. We spend a lot of our free time outdoors (hiking, skiing, running, camping) and we also love going to yoga, playing music, listening to music and cooking epic meals!
Dusty Porter, John Tuck Elementary School Principal, shares this about Matt:

“Mr. Williams has quickly assimilated with our team of outstanding educators at John Tuck. His positive attitude, enthusiasm, willingness to think creatively and flexibly about meeting all students needs and commitment to our team epitomizes the quality of educators we have at John Tuck and in the district.”
Thank you, Matt, for your enthusiasm and talent in supporting success for all students! We’re so glad you’ve chosen to be a part of our team!