In the fall of 1991, Teecy Matthews faced a moment that would alter the trajectory of her life from that time forward. She was asked to stand at the front of the classroom where the professor announced to the entire auditorium of English I college students, “Behold, the young woman before you is a STUPID DUMB ASS!”
Over the course of the semester he continued his bully-based methods of education. He refused to let her drop the class and continued to demoralize her at every turn. The once success-driven, outgoing, college student turned inward, received an F in the course, and announced to her parents that she was going to drop out of college.
Her sense of self was gravely damaged by a relationship that should have served as a safe and growth opportunity. Crippled by self-doubt and wary of taking risks she had to set a course and begin to redefine who she was, and who she was going to become.
Twenty four years later, Teecy has followed an altruistic path and committed her life to the education, care, and respect of others. Formerly, the Chief Program Office of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, she is known nationally for her innate ability to connect with her audience and ensure that they hear the message they are intended to hear. Rarely does one of her presentations go by that a participant doesn’t come up afterwards to give Teecy a hug. Through her great gift of humor and storytelling, this outstanding speaker is most importantly a true believer in the power of relationships, and how they can take education to the level of keeping it REAL.
Mrs. Matthews has a Bachelors in Elementary Education and her Masters in Curriculum Development and Instructional Techniques. Originally a classroom teacher, she found out who she really was in a fit-to-burst Kindergarten classroom in a small town in central Florida. She knew she would never be the type of teacher to belittle or demean her students and she focused her attention on creating meaningful relationships with her students, her fellow teachers, and with parents, families, and the community-at-large. She was building a solid foundation.
Teecy left the safety and shelter of the elementary classroom to take her relationship building strategies and foundational knowledge to reach and influence a broader, more diverse audience. She garnered additional relationship building experience in directing the work of an AmeriCorps program within the public school system. Here she learned the more intricate nuances of relationship building and management. She went on to enhance that experience by directing the work of a county-wide scholarship program for at-risk teens and even furthering her reach.
Over the course of her career, Teecy has spoken for many organizations throughout the nation. She has found her passion in public speaking and sharing her message and experience. She has also developed and co-written numerous curricula and resources for mentors, educators, volunteers, and families. In her role as Chief Program Officer, she expertly facilitated all Volunteer USA/Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy programs from conception and design – to – implementation and realization.
Teecy is a proven leader in the education space, not only drawing from her depth of experience with varied audiences across the country, but personally demonstrating the power of relationship investment and management with all those she comes in contact with. An unfavorable early experience sparked a fire within her that is now an indistinguishable flame. She continues on her altruistic path to creating educational relationships that will change the face of learning forever.
Have you ever made chocolate chip cookies and left out the baking soda? They were good…but just not as great as you remembered. Ingredients in education are as essential as in a cooking recipe. High quality relationships with the right combination of implementation make for a dish that one never forgets. As in the case of the baking soda, REAL relationships are the key ingredient in making education not just good but great.