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Staff Spotlight: Matthew Bennett

The above photograph was a portrait of Bennett drawn by one of his students.

Since 2016, Matthew Bennett has been positively impacting his students and colleagues at Ridgewood High School. Bennett received his undergraduate degree from Tufts University in Medford, MA in 2003 and his Master’s in Education from Northwestern in 2019. Bennett began his career in education in 2010. He came to Ridgewood in 2016 and has been a Rebel ever since!


Bennett is actively involved at RHS. He teaches English 99 (senior english) and AP Language and Composition. He serves as the co-chair (along with Kathleen Leynes) of the Social Emotional Learning Committee. Bennett is also the sponsor of the Ridgewood Poetry Club and is on the School Climate Team. 

Ridgewood Principal, Chris Uhle, had nothing but positive comments about Bennett.


“Matt Bennett is, without questions, one of the most successful and accomplished hires at Ridgewood within the past four years. Matt is wired with a “student first” mentality and continually goes above and beyond for each of students. He has been a great addition to our staff and role model in establishing rapport and relationships with students. We are grateful to have Matt as a member of our school community,” said Uhle.

Q. Congratulations on becoming National Board Certified earlier this year. Why did you decide to go through the process of becoming National Board Certified?

“I decided to become National Board Certified because the teachers that I most respected at my old school had this certification. Each had described it as the best professional development that they had ever done.”


Q. What was the process like to become National Board Certified?

“The National Board process has several requirements. I had to take a test on content-area knowledge and pedagogy. I then had to videotape myself teaching and analyze each choice that I made during the clip. Then, I had to write pages and pages of analyzed student work and data. I liked that this process caused me to think deeply about why I do everything that I do. There were a lot of decisions that I had been making as a teacher that looked good, but did not really suit my instructional goals. This process had definitely helped me to learn to make sound pedagogical decisions.”


Q. Growing up did you know you wanted to pursue a career in education?

Honestly, no. High school me would not have been impressed that I am a teacher, but I am happy I am now! I have had the opportunity to work with a group of local teenagers, as part of an outside community group. This made me realize I liked working with this age group. 


Q. What is your favorite thing about teaching?

"I have two favorite things about teaching. I enjoy the excitement of working in a high school and the creativity that comes with teaching."


Q. What has it been like adjusting to Remote Learning?

“Adjusting to Remote Learning has not been too bad so far. Instruction and curriculum are already quite flexible at Ridgewood, and we have every piece of educational technology we could want. It may take a little time to iron out the wrinkles, but it has been fairly smooth so far.”

Q. What is your favorite memory while teaching?

“I have so many! My favorite memory from this year was taking the Ridgewood Poetry Club to the “Louder Than a Bomb Poetry Slam. The event was amazing and our students were so brave. Also, we ate cupcakes for breakfast.”


Q. What is your favorite thing about Ridgewood?

“My favorite thing about RHS is how committed we are as a school to getting to know students. Forming relationships with students has been a priority since I have been here and I think that is very important. I really love working at Ridgewood. It is a great community!”


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