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Faculty Spotlight - Mr. Matt Hershey

Mr. Matt Hershey

7th & 8th Grade Math Teacher


Majored in Quantitative Finance and minored in Math and Economics at James Madison University.  After college, he joined the Latin American Credit Derivatives trading desk at Credit Suisse First Boston where he became the youngest credit default swap trader on Wall Street.


What is your overall approach to teaching Math?

I believe in making math as fun and accessible as possible.  I have a pure love of the subject and want my students to see that when I teach them.  That being said, I firmly believe the saying I repeat to the kids, "through struggle comes skill."  They must struggle to develop strong math skills but I'll always be there to help them up.


Are there any interesting projects in your classes that your students look forward to?


I'd like to believe my passion and teaching style are obvious to anyone that enters my classroom.  A project that I started with 7th grade last year is a Probability-themed assignment where the students design their own Theme Park.  For 8th grade, they complete a Compound Interest College Loan project that really gets them thinking about a choice they have to make in less than 4 years!


Classroom traditions or themes?


No specific themes in an Upper School Math Room but we did go all out for Christmas including an 8' Christmas Tree and Christmas lights around the whole room!


What surprises you about your students?


Their ability to navigate life with all the distractions and potential for pitfalls.  In many ways, it's harder than when I was in middle school.


What is your biggest goal for your students this year?


I want them to find a least a little love for Math and more than a little confidence in their Math abilities - I want everyone to believe that "I'm good at Math!"


How do you integrate "real life" examples/life skill development into your lesson planning, etc?


In 7th grade, I always try to show them that yes they do actually do math in real life (a question I get a lot).  For example, we learn about tip and tax calculations in Chapter 4 and I have them ask their parents if they can do the tip next time they go to dinner.  In 8th grade, we cover things like Vertical Motion and discuss things like throwing a football or the T-shirt cannon at a basketball game and how those things are actually modeled by a math function!


What are your goals for your students as they look toward high school / next grade?


I want them to walk into their first high school Math class with complete confidence that they are prepared for whatever awaits them.


How do you help your students prepare for high school / next grade? 


I consistently remind the 8th grade what will be asked of them in Geometry next year,  as I help high school students during the year.  I try to cover some topics that aren't normally covered in-depth in 8th grade (like exponential and absolute value functions) so they are a step ahead in 10th grade.


What do you hope your students will leave your class within June (besides the 'classwork' part)?

The feeling that their Math teacher truly cared about them and will be pulling for them for years to come.


What do you think makes a high school/ next grade student successful, and how do you contribute to that?


Having executive functioning and academic fidelity are huge skills to have as they move on to high school and my class revolves around those things.


If you had to sell the GCS to a new student or family what would you say?


It is a welcoming and strong community.  We offer so many opportunities to get involved and you will feel like part of the family instantly.


What makes GCS stand out?

The strong academics in a faith-filled environment.  Also their amazing cross-country team and Math program ;)


What do you like to do on weekends?

I run marathons so normally my weekends involve a lot of running.  But I also spend a lot of my time watching or coaching my kids' sporting events.  In the summer you will definitely find me by a body of water.


Tell me about your family and pets.


I've known my wife for over 16 years and we have 3 amazing boys.  We also have a dog named Daisy who partakes in said running, 2 cats, and a turtle named Mikey who I've had since September 9th, 2001.

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