MNU Alumni Receives Teaching Award

Feb. 1, 2013
MNU Alumni Receives Teaching Award

MNU alumnus Matt Schwenk (’01), a fifth-grade teacher at Central Elementary in Olathe, Kan., doesn’t call himself a hero. But for students and colleagues who have benefited from his 10 years of self-sacrificial service he is. That’s why, last month, Central students and teachers gathered in a surprise assembly to honor Schwenk through OfficeMax’s A Day Made Better program. 

Schwenk was one of 1,000 teachers honored by the A Day Made Better campaign. As reflected by their mission statement, “Working to Erase Teacher-Funded Classrooms,” the program recognizes teachers who use their own money to buy classroom materials.  OfficeMax donated $1,000 worth of supplies to Schwenk and his class.

Colleagues said that besides buying his own classroom supplies, Schwenk often helps students and their families find essentials like food, shelter, and counseling.

Principal Stephanie Dancso, who recommended Schwenk for the award, said he has a heart for the service in the classroom and beyond.

"While Matt is quite adept at working with students who need modifications to be successful in the classroom, his ultimate strength lies in the compassion he carries to make every student successful,” said Dansco. “He pushes them to be the best they can be while supporting them and walking alongside them.”

Though Schwenk was overwhelmed at first, he said he was honored by the recognition.

"All of the supplies are much appreciated and definitely provide excitement for us and our students," Schwenk said.

To learn more about education programs and teacher success stories at MNU, visit mnu.edu/ academic-programs/education.