students and their communities on a daily basis. Adryan Matteson is one of
A fourth-grade English and social studies teacher at Louis B. Russell Jr. School 48,
Matteson prides herself on meeting her students where they are, and uplifting
them to receive the best education that she can provide.
Matteson started her teaching career in 2010 after
completing her degree at IUPUI and joined IPS in 2012. Although she’s only been
with the district four years, Matteson is no stranger to IPS classrooms.
An IPS alumna, Matteson began her early years as a student
at Elder W. Diggs School 42 and graduated as valedictorian of her senior class
at George Washington Community High School.
“Growing up in IPS, I had good teachers and bad teachers. I
felt like it was my due diligence to come back to the same community that
served me, and more than anything I wanted to be a good teacher,” she said.
Connecting with students, on their level, is tough for most
teachers, but Matteson believes that it’s the most important component of her
job. “Teaching is mostly about relationships; if you don’t have good
relationships with your kids, they aren’t going to learn from you,” she said. “It’s
about meeting your kids where they are and pulling them up from there.”
When that connection is made, it can me transformational.
“As a teacher, you are a change maker. You take kids and change
their lives,” said Matteson, holding back tears. “Certain kids come to you so
broken and by the end of the year, they are just a different child. That’s it.
It’s just worth it.”
Growing up in a single-parent household with two other siblings,
Matteson recalls her childhood as tough. When money was low and stress was
high, it was life changing to have caring teachers to push her in the
classroom, in spite of everything she was going through.
Now she feels it’s her duty to serve as an advocate for her
“I think it’s very important to set high expectations for
our kids, no matter what they are going through at home. They need rigor, high
expectations and structure,” said Matteson. “As a teacher, you have to
understand and relate, but at the same time you have to push them because you
might be the only one doing so.”
Crishell Sam, principal at Louis B. Russell, said that as an
elementary teacher, Matteson brings “sincere passion, joy, intentionality and
innovation” to the school and her classroom every day. “Her desire to grow and
challenge students are qualities that she also seeks for herself.”
Sam also believes that Matteson’s foundation as an IPS
student helps her connect with students and build and sustain relationships.
relationships and connections also allow her to set the stage for a conducive
learning environment, in which expectations and engagement are high!” said Sam.
“We are fortunate to have her gifts and talents shared with the students of
Louis B. Russell Jr. Elementary School 48.”
IPS is also proud to celebrate Matteson and other district
educators like her, whose dedication comes through in the classroom.