2003 Winner

(visit 2003 winners home page)


Matt CopelandMatt Copeland

High School English Instructor
USD 437, Auburn Washburn

Teaching Philosophy

In his educational philosophy, Mr. Copeland says:  "Classroom climate is extremely important in all that I do. . . . Likewise, another important component in reaching students is motivation . . . A second important pillar of my philosophy is adapting to the needs of my students.  I think of these strategies as individual tools in a larger toolbox.  Every student enters my classroom with different needs, interests, and learning styles; my job is to select the proper teaching tool for each student.  Ultimately, success in education for me boils down to a very simple idea:  empowering students to become lifelong, self-directed learners who can apply their learning to a world outside of the classroom."

Honors and Awards

Auburn-Washburn Public Schools Foundation Grant Recipient, 2002, 1999
Flint Hills Writing Project Summer Institute Fellowship, 2002
Listed in Who's Who Among America's Teachers, 7th ed., 2002
Auburn-Washburn USD #437 Master Teacher Award, 2002
Judith C. Gilbert Outstanding Writing Teacher Award, 2002
Disney's American Teacher Awards, 2000 Honoree
University of Kansas Kampshroeder Scholar, 1997-1998

What People Say

A former student writes:  "Mr. Copeland is one of those teachers that every parent hopes their child is fortunate to have.  No teacher has ever been more determined to make each one of his students a success.  He puts his heart and soul into his work, but the results tell the real story.  His dedication and unique teaching style leaves an impression on every face that passes through his classroom.  He is truly an asset to the teaching world."


Another student writes:  "I walked into my Writing Portfolio class on the first day of school expecting the same old English techniques that I have seen the previous eleven years of my schooling.  The boring and dry read a story and then write an essay analyzing the material.  Except this time, everything seemed to be a little different.  The walls were covered in quotes and posters, Christmas lights weaving in and out of the Frisbees hanging from the ceiling.  I was unaware at the time, but I was in for what might be the greatest and most beneficial English class of my high school years.