Matthew Bryant, a high school physics teacher from South Warren High School has been serving as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow hosted by the Department of Energy and Placed in Representative Raúl Grijalva’s Office (AZ-03), for the 2019-2020 academic year. Matthew was selected from a nationwide pool of highly qualified applicants to participate in the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship (AEF) Program from August 19, 2019, through July 17, 2020, in the Washington, DC, area. As the Fellowship nears its half-way point, we want provide an update on Matthew’s accomplishments to date and also thank you for allowing him to serve as an outstanding representative of your school district.
The goal of the AEF Program is to provide outstanding science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) educators the opportunity to bring their insights, extensive knowledge, and practical experience as classroom educators to the legislative and executive branches to help inform the establishment and implementation of federal education programs. Federal agencies and Congressional offices that participate in the AEF Program benefit from the Fellows’ real-world experiences as STEM educators and from the Fellows’ past experiences. Fellows gain understanding of the role of the federal government in the U.S. education enterprise and the broad spectrum of programs and resources available. Fellows also gain extensive professional development opportunities during their 11-month tenure. This year, Fellows strengthened their STEM content knowledge through exposure and interaction with government decision-makers, practitioners, and program managers from organizations such as the Office of Science and Technology Policy for the White House, Department of Education, the American Geophysical Union, The Society for Science, ASCD, and the Smithsonian Institutions. Mr. Bryant has also been involved with the latest educational research findings through regular collaboration with fellows and professional development meetings. Meetings include learning about and working with organizations such as the US Department of Energy, Library of Congress, and NASA. Mr. Bryant has worked on and responded to numerous national projects related to STEM education.
During the Fellowship, as a legislative fellow in Representative Raúl Grijalva’s Office (AZ-03), Matt has been serving as the contact person for a range of legislative issues including gun violence, the arts, pensions, science and technology, and education. Since the congressman is an active member of the House Education & Labor Committee, Matt has helped prepare the congressman on multiple education, labor, and workforce training issues. Those issues have included the College Affordability Act, trauma informed practices, school shooting safety, Dignity in Aging Act, public service loan forgiveness, school meals, Protecting the Right to Organize Act, how immigration policies affect children, runaway & homeless youth, dual-language immersion programs, school libraries, helping non-English speaking families learn English, and multiple oversight concerns with the U.S. Department of Education. In addition to legislative work on capitol hill, Matt has also been implementing his professional development (PD) plan to improve his leadership and pedagogical skills. He has been focusing his PD efforts on teaching centered around issues of equity and inclusion, as well as increasing students’ inquiry skills and self-efficacy in STEM. Matt is looking forward to sharing what he has learned with his students and colleagues in his own school district and those beyond.