Leadership Spotlight - Matt Moyer

leadership Feb 25, 2023

Matt Moyer is the Principal of Rupert Elementary School.

He knew from a young age that he wanted to enter the field of education and was quite driven in college to obtain his teaching degree.

Matt began his career teaching in the Springford school district and then transitioned to Schuylkill Valley Elementary School where he served as the Assistant Principal for 3 years prior to stepping into the role of Principal at Rupert Elementary in the Pottstown School District.

Over the last several years, the global pandemic has been challenging for educators to say the least, so I asked Matt what the most challenging aspect of his role has been throughout that time. 

He said, “We encountered things we never thought we would encounter. And so you don't have past experience to draw from when you reach those things. You have to gather as much information as you can and then make the best decisions you can based on your mission and values.”

The mission of the Pottstown School District is, “To prepare each student, by name, for success at every level.”

That distinction, “by name”, is so incredibly important. I asked Matt what it looks like to live the mission out each day – how is it put into action?

He said, “the By Name piece, it really has a lot to do with every child being different and every person being different and particularly, in our post COVID world.

We've always had children at different levels, but now it's even more so because children missed pieces and chunks of their education. And so, you have a curriculum at a certain grade level, but you've got to meet children where they are and you've got to move them from where they are.

So we look a lot at growth and growing our kids from where they are and trying to help them grow as much as possible. And that really is what matters because that's what we can impact.

We can’t impact where a child comes into us. If you move into Rupert Elementary School, and you're reading at grade level behind or two grade levels behind, I can't fix that. I can't change where you came from, but I can now impact and the teachers can impact and the staff can impact how much we grow you from where you are. And so that really has to be our focus is growing our kids individually. That also means the kids that are at or above grade level growing them as well.

And what those kids need is different and that exists in every school all over the place. But I think in particular in in a post COVID world and in a school district that serves a high poverty community that need is, is even greater in some ways.”

I asked Matt what the community can do to support the school and his endeavors. Matt mentioned, “Continuing to support our kids and showing the value of education and the importance of coming to school.”

He said one of the challenges they’ve faced at a greater level since the pandemic is children not coming to school for various reasons. At the elementary level, students need the support of adults to get to school. Matt spoke about the possibility that education can provide and the choices in life that become available through education, “But we can’t educate students if they’re not here.”

Next I asked Matt what leadership lessons he’s learned throughout the course of his career.

He said the biggest one is to ask a lot of questions and find out as much information as you can before you make a decision, and keep that decision rooted in your core values and your mission and what matters most. Matt said, “When I look back, I can see the mistakes I’ve made along the way have been times when I lost focus and made a decision without consulting all the stakeholders and thinking through everyone’s perspective and listening to people. “

He continued, “When I first got here, (Rupert), my mentor at the time, Jeff Sparagana, was a great leader, someone I enjoyed working with and think very highly of. Early on in my principalship when I would call him to ask what he thought about something, he would ask me a bunch of questions that I’d have to go find the answers to and get back to him. So I learned after a while to go find out that information first, then seek his advice or others advice. I think that might be one of the most powerful lessons for folks to learn about leadership.”

As John Maxwell says, “Good leaders ask great questions”. Asking questions opens new doors to possibility , allows you to connect with people, gain new perspectives and expand your growth potential.

When I asked Matt, what he enjoys most about the work he does, he shared, “The kids are the best part of this job. And it's the best part of my day, my week, my month my year is when I get to interact with kids and get to see their success and reward them for it.”

Being a principal comes with its challenges, but Matt says, “Knowing that I'm having an impact on kids and their future is so rewarding.”

So much so that Matt started authoring children’s books including The Adventures of David and Donald Basketball Bewilderment and The Adventures of David and Donald: The Fractured Flower Pot. The books focus on social and emotional skills like problem solving, decision making, and collaboration. 

Matt also has an impact on fellow Principals as he shares what he’s learned throughout his career by presenting at the National Principals conference, presenting at the state level, and also to school district staffs at different buildings locally.

Big thanks to Matt for being who he is and for the impact he has on the lives of others!

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