For January, we selected Mr. Matt Smith as the MHED substitute teacher of the month. Mr. Smith is amazing! He helps both Piper and Tonganoxie school districts. Matt is a team player with a positive attitude. He always jumps in where there is a need even if it may be a grade level that is not his preference. He receives wonderful feedback from teachers and is requested frequently. Thank you, Matt for all of your hard work and dedication to our schools and the students that you teach. We appreciate you!

Tell us about yourself and your family

I am a retired Police Sergeant formerly of the Olathe Kansas Police Department. I have been married to my wife Debbie for forty years. I have two adult daughters, Lindsey and Jamie. They have given us three grandchildren, Jackson, Roman, and Remi. To say the least I have been blessed with a wonderful family.

Why did you become a substitute teacher?

I started substitute teaching to fill some of my down time. My father was an educator for his career, and I thought it could be something I might enjoy. That, plus I knew there was a shortage of teachers at the time partially due to Covid.

What are some of the most memorable experiences of substitute teaching?

There are many memories during my time as a substitute, but what stands out are the times when the students draw me a picture, thank me for being there, or asking if I could be their permanent teacher. That is how I know I’ve effectively done my job.

What advice would you give substitute teachers to have a successful day?

For any substitute teacher to be successful on any given day is to have patience and listen to the students. You never know what they are going through in their lives and sometimes just listening can make a difference.