Shawnee science educator, coach glad he ‘fell’ into teaching

Excellence in Teaching Award winner Matt Warrington had no aspirations of being a teacher.

Matt Warrington really had no aspirations of being a teacher and didn’t want anything to do with education, that is, until he started taking education classes.

Warrington, who is in his 27th year of teaching in the Clark-Shawnee Local School District, teaches seventh- and eighth-grade middle school science.

Warrington and three other teachers will receive the Excellence in Teaching award on April 15. The 35th awards program is sponsored by the Springfield Rotary Club, First Energy, The Springfield Foundation, the Greater Springfield Partnership and the Springfield News-Sun.

Each recipient will be introduced and will give a short presentation on what teaching has meant to them and the importance of being a teacher. Recipients will also receive a $1,000 check, a recognition plaque and an etched paperweight.

Warrington’s mother was a teacher for at least 35 years, and after seeing her teach, he didn’t want to do that.

“It wasn’t a straightforward path. It wasn’t something that I thought about in high school. I saw my mom teach, and I did not want to do that, so it’s kind of a roundabout way, (and) I kind of fell into it and I’m so glad I did,” he said.

Warrington, who initially wanted to do something with engineering, said he had a friend who was taking education classes to become a teacher, and he thought maybe he wanted to coach, so he started taking some education classes, too. He transferred to Heidelberg College, where he said they had a strong reputation as an education program, and he “loved it there.”

He decided to become a science teacher because, after starting off with engineering and having many science courses under his belt, he wanted to do something in the science realm. He has taught seventh- and eighth-grade general science for 20 of his 27 years, including two astronomy courses that he developed as electives and a few math and science intervention electives.

“I likes teaching science in the middle school level. It’s fun. There’s got to be some fun to teach. The content that’s fun to teach, kids really get into that subject matter. I love (when a) kid had a light bulb moment. I love those light bulb moments, when something clicks, and they’ve been struggling and something finally clicks or they learn something new for the first time,” he said.

Loving to teach and share knowledge, Warrington hopes his students say that he was positive about teaching, came to school every day and worked hard to prepare and teach in the classroom.

“Just being able to affect, even if it’s just one day of a kid, positively. Just one day at a time. There’s so much negative, there’s so many problems, I just hope I can affect their day positively and hopefully those positive days add up more than the negatives,” he said.

Warrington said he’s inspired by his mom, as well as a few people that helped him early in his career, including Amy Manley, Gail Daniels and Bonnie Cummings, who he said was “vitally important” to him in his first couple of years as mentor teachers.

Along with teaching, Warrington has also been coaching for 27 years in football.

He said: “I always say, coaching is teaching. I really am passionate with teaching as I am coaching. I really do love both and I can affect a different group of kids.”

Warrington thinks it’s a high honor to receive the Excellence in Teaching Award and said being in the company of the other great teachers is an honor.

“I know people who have won this, and just to be in their company, the company of past winners that’s at the top of their fields still, it’s just simply an honor,” he said.

Warrington has a bachelor of science degree in education from Heidelberg University and a master’s degree in leadership from the University of Dayton.

2024 Excellence in Teaching Award

This is the third story in a four-part series by the Springfield News-Sun on the teachers in Clark County receiving the 2024 Excellence in Teaching Award.

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