Centennial Middle School
Mr. Penland makes learning fun, but more importantly he shares his great love of math with the students, which ignites their interest as well. He demands excellence of his students and includes character education as well as academic skills to enable all of his students to succeed. He plans incredible hands-on projects for students to explore math in real-world applications. One great example is his annual rocket cars, where students design build and race their own CO2 powered rocket cars. The students explore concepts about diameter, speed, distance and other principles of math and have an incredible time while doing it. Mr. Penland helps students build their confidence in math, enabling them to build on their successes and feel empowered. Beyond his amazing academic leadership, Mr. Penland is a true leader on our campus. Across the campus, students will often eagerly run to say hello to Mr. Penland. He displays enthusiasm for all school spirit days, dances, social events and more, even serving as the school DJ for all dances. The students will eagerly tell you about the time Mr. Penland dyed his hair blue for an anti-bullying event, or when Mr. Penland brought in popsicles for the whole class when they did well on a quiz or about the time Mr. Penland showed up at their musical performance. Mr. Penland has a unique way of letting students know they are special to him and he makes school special too. As the Coach for Centennialís Cross country, Track and Softball teams, Mr. Penland works effectively with his players, other coaches & parents, and handles any challenges and always maintains a high standard of professionalism. Mr. Penland is also a leader among his peers. He organized a bi-weekly Saturday school for our students, he recruited fellow teachers who are willing to give up their Saturdays to help students catch up with work and get the assistance they need. He often uses his own money, time and resources to help students in any way that he can. Matt Penland shows an unwavering commitment to improve the lives of young people and I hope you will agree that he is deserving of recognition.