Agnes Scott Alumnus Matthew Patterson M.A.T. '07 Wins $25,000 Teaching Award

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

TurnerOn May 17, TNTP announced that Matthew Patterson M.A.T. '07, a  12th-grade English teacher at Fulton County's Benjamin Banneker High School, is one of four teachers nationwide to win the 2016 Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice

Awarded by TNTP (formerly The New Teacher Project), the Fishman Prize is a $25,000 award recognizing the nation’s most effective teachers working in high-need public schools and is extremely selective, boasting thousands of nominations each year and nearly 800 teacher applications in 2016. Ten finalists were selected for in-person interviews with an expert panel of judges in New York City before four were ultimately named winners.

Patterson learned he was an award recipient after being surprised in his classroom by friends, family, students, and local leaders including Virgil Fludd, Georgia state representative; Kenneth Zeff, interim superintendent of Fulton County Schools; and Anne Harris, executive vice president of talent and culture at TNTP, who presented the award to him.

“Matthew Patterson is a tremendous educator and has an undeniable commitment to his students and their development,” said Banneker High School Principal Duke J. Bradley. “He is driven by the opportunity to see his students come into a realization of themselves and their abilities. Our teachers and students alike have learned so much about compassion, empathy, and belief from Patterson.”

After graduating college in Illinois and earning his M.A.T. degree at Agnes Scott College, Patterson began teaching at Banneker High School, a historically struggling school. Alongside his colleagues, Patterson has been working to change the school’s reputation. And he is getting results: for six of his ten years at the high school, his students have been the only students in the school to pass any A.P. exam. Patterson believes that a trusting and thriving classroom culture is key to academic success. Under his leadership, there has been a drastically lower occurrence of discipline referrals of students after entering his class.

This summer, Patterson will join the three other Fishman Prize winners for a six-week residency with TNTP, where they will meet with education leaders across the country and write essays capturing their insights as expert practitioners in the classroom. 

Learn more about TNTP’s Fishman Prize, including past winners, finalists and honorees here

Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location—offering myriad social, cultural and experiential learning opportunities. This highly selective liberal arts college is known for its diverse and dynamic intellectual community. Through SUMMIT, it provides every student, regardless of major, with an individualized course of study and co-curricular experiences that develop leadership abilities and understanding of complex global dynamics.