Our Welcome To Sanford Teacher of the Week is Matt DeCerbo of Lee County High School. Mr. DeCerbo has been a part of the Yellow Jacket family for 21 of his 23-year teaching career and holds a degree in electrical engineering from Alfred University, as well as his certification to teach secondary mathematics from St. Bonaventure University.
Currently, Mr. DeCerbo teaches Math 2, AP Statistics AB and AP Statistics, but he’s also taught all levels of mathematics from Math 1 through AP Calculus & AP Statistics. And when he’s not teaching, he’s been the advisor for the Interact club, involved in Quiz Bowl and also coaches JV baseball.
Mr. DeCerbo’s teaching philosophy places much emphasis on the importance of establishing relationships with students. “My responsibility is to establish a rapport with students so that they are willing to extend beyond their level of comfort. If I am able to accomplish this, then I can convince my students to take academic risks that they would not otherwise take, whether that is doing homework for the first time, or trusting us to take classes that they would not otherwise take due to a lack of confidence. This healthy rapport also allows me to make mistakes in front of my students and show the learning opportunity that comes from making such mistakes. It also allows me to have a relatively informal classroom atmosphere with my students even as they are taking an intense class such as AP Calculus BC or AP Statistics.”
For the past 2 years, Mr. DeCerbo has been invited by the College Board to score the AP Statistics tests. He notes, “This gave me the opportunity to meet with some outstanding teachers from around the country, many of which I remain in contact with. It has also given me the opportunity to improve my own instruction as I was able to work closely with the professionals that are responsible to creating the AP Statistics curriculum, as well as the AP exam.”
Mr. DeCerbo incorporates empathy and humor into to his work with student, stating, “I am proud of the relationships that I have formed with my students. I think they know that I care for them, not only as a student in my classroom, but also in other areas. I have been at LCHS long enough to now be working with some of my former students and it is tremendously rewarding to now have them as colleagues.”
In his free time, Mr. DeCerbo enjoys spending time with my family and his coworkers and playing golf. “My son just started college at North Carolina State University, so we have spent a great deal of time at the NC State campus. I enjoy the rare occasion to play golf with friends and coworkers, and I also enjoy spending time with the people that I work with. They are a great group of people that dedicate themselves to the kids of Lee County.”