USC teacher named among 20 to Watch
A Boyce Middle School teacher has been selected as a National School Boards Association's 20 to Watch educator for the 2016-17 school year. Matt Henderson, STEAM design teacher and 1:1 Initiative facilitator, was honored during the Consortium for School Networking Conference on Monday, April 3, 2017, in Chicago.
“It was truly an honor just to be nominated by my administration; but, to be selected for this national award is extremely humbling,” Mr. Henderson said. “I have had such strong support for my classroom initiatives and ideas. My colleagues have been wonderful to work with and I have been blessed to have amazing teaching partners over the years who are equally excited to try new things.”
The 20 educators identified for 2016-17 include classroom teachers and technology directors to superintendents from 12 states. Submissions were reviewed by a national panel of educators comprised of previous 20 to Watch recipients.
“This special recognition was launched as one of the 20th anniversary events at NSBA’s 2006 Technology and Learning Conference to identify emerging leaders who will be helping to shape the world of education technology for the next 20 years,” Ann Lee Flynn, director of education innovation for NSBA, said.
Mr. Henderson was nominated for the 20 to Watch honor by Dr. Sharon Suritsky, deputy/assistant superintendent.
“Matt has been an innovative and outstanding middle school teacher who has been leveraging technology to customize instruction for his students for the past 15 years,” Dr. Suritsky said.
In his first year as Boyce Middle School’s new STEAM Design teacher, he has been instrumental in the development of the school’s new Innovation Hub
. He has been solely responsible for writing and implementing the STEAM Design course curriculum and assessment.
“He effectively combines technology with innovation and creativity and has implemented an instructional model where students drive their own learning and what they create,” Dr. Suritysky said. “Within a short period of time, Matt has served as a powerful role model for his teaching peers.”
Mr. Henderson believes that students are naturally drawn to technology and that it provides additional opportunities for student engagement.
“Once you have students engaged, the learning potential is limitless; technology offers that engagement if it used the correct way,” Mr. Henderson said. “Technology can enable students to become more self-directed and allow them to become better advocates for their learning.”
Following a 13-year tenure as a middle school math teacher, Mr. Henderson was selected as Boyce Middle School’s 1:1 Learning Initiative facilitator in June 2014.
“This critical new role was essential in implementing Upper St. Clair’s 1:1 iPad deployment to all fifth and sixth graders,” Dr. Suritsky said. “Boyce Middle School teachers have begun to use 1:1 technology to customize learning, and Matt has been the key catalyst behind that important work for students.”
The Innovation Hub @ Boyce
– home of the STEAM Design course taught by Mr. Henderson – was made possible through a grant from Steelcase Education
and other donors.
“In 2015, the Upper St. Clair School District set a goal to increase the depth and breadth of STEAM curriculum offerings and improve the integration of STEAM across the curriculum and at all levels for all students,” Dr. Patrick T. O’Toole, superintendent of schools, said. “Through the generous support of Steelcase Education and the leadership of Mr. Henderson, we were able to expand these innovative programs to our students at Boyce Middle School.”
Being named to NSBA’s 20 to Watch is not the first time that Mr. Henderson’s expertise in educational technology has been recognized by others. He was awarded the Blended School’s Teacher of the Year Award in 2012 and, in 2010, he was recognized as a Champion of Change by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit.
A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Mr. Henderson holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. In addition, he earned a multimedia technology certificate from California University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Henderson began his career as a fourth grade teacher in the Canon-McMillan School District, where he taught for five years. He joined the Upper St. Clair faculty in 2002 as a sixth grade English language arts and social studies teacher. The following year he moved to fifth grade math and science. The previous two years he taught fifth grade math until taking over his new role as the STEAM Design teacher in the fall of 2016. He and his wife, Stacy, reside in Peters Township with their daughters, Olivia, Ally and Julia.
Mr. Henderson is the second Upper St. Clair faculty member to be selected as a National School Boards Association's 20 to Watch educator. In 2014, Brad Wilson
, who now serves as the district’s supervisor of customized and on-line learning, was recognized as an innovative seventh grade teacher and instructional technology curriculum leader.