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The Robert Norris Excellence in Teaching Award Recipient 2021

By Division Directors: Melinda Kaufman, Mary Kimball, and Tim Campbell



The recipient of this year’s Robert Norris award is a teacher who works across all three divisions and is someone who has touched the lives of many McGillis students. This teacher is always thinking about our students and what’s in their best interest. Whether it’s designing a lesson, planning an off-campus field trip, or helping students solve problems or work through conflict in thoughtful ways. This teacher sees the good in every student, is able to tap into their strengths and passions, and believes in the endless potential each student offers. This person intentionally connects with students and families, embodies our value of Derech Eretz (respect for all), and is regularly sought out by colleagues for ideas or advice.


In addition to the positive and lasting impact this teacher has had on students, this person has also significantly influenced another group of magpies- a team of young adults who are an integral and vibrant part of our school program. One that doesn’t occur within the school day.  A natural mentor, this educator patiently works with these young adults to help them develop the skills to not only work with children but to also navigate through life. Many of these young adults have become substitute teachers for us, landed various positions within the school, and some have even entered the teaching profession. What a testament their success is to this teacher’s dedication and commitment and how lucky McGillis is to benefit from this teacher’s fine example as both an exceptional human and educator.


When I think of the recipient of the Robert Norris award this year. I can’t help but compare them to a lathe. Both the tool and the person are uniquely versatile and can work with wide-ranging materials. Both the person and the tool are adept at reshaping, reinventing, and rejuvenating, but I’ve never seen a lathe give a child the care, attention, and understanding that this remarkable person gives to students of all ages on every occasion. I don’t think a lathe can look a colleague in the eyes and ask, “how are you?” with a sincere desire to know and to understand. With a kind heart and authenticity in spades Matt Schrier has been instrumental in shaping the positive lives of countless students as well as young adults on his after-school staff all of whom adore him. He is a kid magnet and the epitome of cool. We are just grateful to be in the company of such an excellent human being, and our Kehilah is beyond fortunate to have him.


Congratulations Matt!