When Matt Kull ’02 was a student, a professor laid the groundwork for the beginning of Kull’s career.
“Dr. Jim Huffman sparked my interest in social justice issues,” said Kull, a history major. “I realized that I could make a positive change in the world around me.”
At the end of his senior year, he applied to Teach for America, an organization that works to eliminate educational inequity in the United States.
“Where a child is born too often determines his or her educational and, in turn, life prospects,” said Kull, who spoke to Wittenberg students and faculty in late January.
“Teach for America is building the movement to address this injustice by calling upon recent college graduates to commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools and to become lifelong advocates for change.”
Kull taught fourth and fifth grades at Ruleville Central Elementary School in the Mississippi Delta. Some of his students moved ahead 1-1/2 grade levels.
“My school was a low-performing school,” Kull said. “At first, we did not have access to up-to-date textbooks or chapter books. As we gained access, we saw an increase in the students’ desire to read more of those books.”
By June 2004, Kull was named the program director for Teach for America in South Dakota, where he oversees 17 corps members serving students in public and tribal schools on the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Indian Reservations in southwestern South Dakota.
“I still have a collective impact on the education system as a whole,” said Kull, who is currently conducting a book drive for the schools in his area. “I provide on-going professional development to our corps members, recruit recent college graduates and select incoming corps members.”
Kull plans to study fund-raising or education policy in graduate school upon completion of his time with Teach For America.