Matthew Courtney brought energy and enthusiasm to the topics of data and evidence-based research for the purposes of school improvement. His expertise as a researcher and as a practitioner was evident and his passion for using data to drive improvement was contagious. He was very insightful and provided information and ideas educators could easily take back to their school and implement to support their improvement efforts.
University of Kentucky, College of Social Work
The UK College of Social Work’s OPDCE is pleased to have Dr. Matthew Courtney as one of our continuing education presenters. Dr. Courtney was approached by our office to present continuing education training to behavioral health and other helping professionals after the collaboration of the Bluegrass Center for Teacher Quality and the OPDCE with the Building the Village Summit 2016. Dr. Courtney’s passion for and commitment to education along with his professionalism and implausible presentation skills make him an asset to the OPDCE. Dr. Courtney has the unique ability to capture and maintain the attention of those attending his presentations with his immeasurable knowledge and experience. What is exceptionally distinctive to Dr. Courtney as an educator in his ability to genuinely inspire those that attend his sessions.
Kentucky Education Association
When I first attended a workshop event in which Matthew was the trainer only then did I realize his full potential as a “teacher” of adult learners. He was alive, he was exciting and the room was electric with engagement. Educators are a tough bunch; after all they spend the majority of their days doing just that…engaging. But Matthew had them from go. He has the unique ability to reach every learner and offer each a comfortable entry in to the learning. He is my “go to guy” simply because in every instance when the evaluations come back from presenters, he is ranked number one. At more than one instance I have overheard participants talk about how they based their whole conference attendance on seeing Matthew’s name on the agenda. Your only problem when Matthew is a speaker is having enough space available - a good problem to have.
I have had Matthew work with students at Union College many times. He is always very friendly and engaging and our students look forward to his return each semester. He is motivational and inspiring while also telling the truth and helping our students to understand the reality of the world they are entering in to. Matthew doesn’t sugarcoat reality, but his example and experience of overcoming challenges makes it seem a little less scary. We have already booked him twice for next year!
Woodford County Public Schools
I was blown away by the power of his words. As a teacher leader and member of the teacher leadership movement, educators around the US are trying to create change in education, we take risks and ask questions and find solutions to problems that seem impossible. What is staggering is that Matthew did all of these things on his own. He had mentors and other educators that guided him on his journey, but he had the courage to take a risk, to be the change, to develop the solution. Matthew saw a deficit in education in the professional development realm and created an avenue that would be meaningful to all teachers. He created the Bluegrass Center for Teaching Quality and has provided so many opportunities for teachers around the state, all because he saw a need and decided to be the change, which has impacted professional development for teachers around Kentucky. Matthew’s story is inspirational and speaks to the hearts of educators. His words ignite a spark that allow teachers to believe that they can also be change makers in their buildings, districts and beyond. He reminds us that teachers have a voice worth sharing and shows us how educators can be the change we all want to see in the teaching world.