LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Matt DePaolo

Position: K-6 Physical Education Teacher
School: Mary L. Tracy School
School District: Orange Public Schools
City, State: Orange, CT

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Matt DePaolo was nominated by an anonymous parent of a student.

Mr. DePaolo has been an elementary physical education teacher for eight years. From the moment he stepped foot in Orange Public Schools, he has made a positive impact. Students are beyond excited to step foot in his gym because of the class environment he's created. He's more than just a teacher. He's a role model. Mr. DePaolo teaches his students life lessons. He connects every lesson to a real world issue or example. He'll tell you how football can benefit you as a dancer before you can even question him about why you have to do it. Mr. DePaolo will bring in current day media (music, movies, tv characters) into activities and examples to keep his students fully engaged and excited. 

The best aspect of his classes is his approach. In his opinion, "the way you treat each other will always be more important than the outcome of the game. You'll never remember who won the kickball game we may play today in 30 years, but you'll always remember how someone treated you for the rest of your life." 

"The effective social-emotional lessons he teaches on top of the cognitive and psychomotor lessons to benefit the P.E. curriculum are what sets him apart," said the parent. "I'm lucky to have my children learn from a role-model on a weekly basis. He's helping his students not only get physically and cognitively better, but more importantly, become better people and learners."