Nothing can break the stride of Missouri State University alumnus Matthew Ketteman, Lee’s Summit’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.
The Longview Farm Elementary music teacher, Ketteman recently created a back-to-school video for students. To the tune of artist Matthew Wilder’s 1983 hit, “Break My Stride,” Ketteman inspires pupils “to keep on movin’,” despite uncertainty surrounding education in the time of a pandemic.
“This message has spread across Kansas City and beyond to encourage educators and students who are struggling through their back to school transitions,” Ketteman said. “It’s been wonderful seeing people react to the positive message we collaborated to create — even Governor Parson was uplifted.”
Ketteman learned in July that he was selected to receive Lee’s Summit’s highest honor for teachers, according to the district’s website. He later applied to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for the 2021 State Teacher of the Year award. He was selected as one of seven finalists in August.
Ketteman has since reached out to people and organizations that guided him throughout his career, he said.
“My hope of reaching out to MSU is to encourage and thank the university for its excellent education and experiences,” Ketteman said. “It allowed me to prepare for this amazing occupation of bringing joy to children through music.”
A collaborative effort
Ketteman additionally recognized three MSU alumni who helped create and made appearances in his video. Shawn Harrel is a 2000 music education graduate and a digital media technology instructor for Lee’s Summit. Brandon Johnson is a 2003 music education graduate and the assistant director of bands for Lee’s Summit West High School.
Ketteman also thanked his wife, Kimberly Ketteman, a 2005 communications graduate. Ketteman said his wife was heavily involved with him in helping found MSU’s a cappella groups, Beartones and A Cub Bella.
“We have not lived in Springfield since college, but it still feels like home whenever we return to visit,” Ketteman said.
Ketteman thanked Missouri State for playing a vital part in his career.
“As educators, we often don’t get to see the fruition of what we do,” he said. “What you do impacts the world. Thank you for being such a large part of mine.”
A committee held virtual interviews with each Missouri Teacher of the Year finalist Sept. 1, according to the DESE website. The winner, finalists, semifinalists and Regional Teachers of the Year will be honored during an Oct. 15 event. The new Missouri Teacher of the Year will serve as the state’s nominee for the 2021 National Teacher of the Year.