Matt Adam, McHenry High School math teacher and newly named Air Force Association Aerospace Education STEM Teacher of the Year for Illinois, said his focus is meeting his math students where they are to get them where they need to be.
His work as a teacher, along with his other jobs as a digital literacy coach, assistant athletic director, driver education teacher and more has drawn the attention of McHenry High School District 156 administrators and the Air Force Association.
The Aerospace and STEM Education Teacher of the Year award is meant to recognize teachers who go above and beyond to inspire students in STEM education. Air Force Association State President Thomas O’Shea said he was impressed with all Adam juggles when he visited Adam’s West Campus classroom earlier in the 2019-20 school year.
O’Shea said Mr. Adam is also involved in the Knights of Columbus in addition to his work as a teacher. Adam was selected for the statewide honor by a panel of judges, including Maj. Gen. Grant R. Mulder.
O’Shea and Mulder presented the award June 16 at West Campus.
“The whole program there I was impressed with,” O’Shea said.
Adam is starting his 17th year as a teacher in McHenry. He has taught just about all of the math classes McHenry offers, including algebra, geometry and calculus.
A native of Indiana and Purdue University graduate, Adam said he realized early on that he enjoyed math and that many others didn’t. At the beginning of each school year, Adam enjoys learning about each student’s comfort level with math.
“I try to figure out where they are and try to push them up,” he said.
Principal Marsha Potthoff, who nominated Adam, said he goes above and beyond for his students. “We’re really proud of him,” Potthoff said.
Dr. Ryan McTague, District 156 superintendent, said he also appreciates how Adam helps other teachers to learn new technology and innovation for their classrooms.
“Matt has been invaluable as a digital literacy coach, a teacher and a role model,” McTague said.
The statewide honor comes after Adam was selected Teacher of the Year for the Air Force Association Chicagoland/O’Hare Chapter 142.