- November 14, 2017
Matt Coleman believes learning should be fun, and he strives to make it so.
He loves teaching at the elementary school level and said he will never work in another setting. The students are excitable, interested and always ready to have a laugh, and as their teacher, he gets to encourage that while learning different subject areas. He tries to make his lessons as interesting and humorous as possible to keep their attention and desire to learn.
"They are still finding their way in the educational process and what their favorite subjects are," Coleman said. "I love being there to help them with that and to provide support for the subjects that they’re having difficulty with."
The Pathways Elementary Teacher of the Year always liked working with and helping children. When he was in middle and high school, he was a Sunday school teacher at his church as well as a youth leader during vacation Bible school.
His grandfather, Joe Lively, was a missionary, and Coleman learned from him and his parents, Bob and Bobbi Coleman, that the greatest thing one can do as a person is to serve someone else.
"To me, teaching is the ultimate service," Coleman said. "I am helping to provide the next generation with the tools they will need to go further in life and, hopefully, turn around and provide some service back to someone else that needs it."
When he was in his early 20s, longtime Volusia County Schools administrator Peromnia Grant, who was the principal at Bonner Elementary at the time, gave him an opportunity to read to students and dress up in costumes to promote events. He was hooked and he changed his major to education. He later graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's and a master's degree in education.
He has been in the classroom for 23 years — the last 20 in Pathways — and is currently a third grade teacher. He doesn't see teaching as something that's difficult because he loves it so much. Nothing, Coleman said, motivates him more than seeing his students succeed. And he can't imagine teaching anywhere else.
"I have shed blood, sweat, and tears over the years in the work at this school and to be its 'face' and representative is a high honor," Coleman said.
When he's not in the classroom, Coleman runs ultramarathons all over the state, is an avid reader, loves spending time with his wife and daughters, and attends as many UF and Seabreeze High School sporting events as possible. He also coaches the Seabreeze track and field in the winter and spring.