Volume 22, Number 05 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | June 12 - 18, 2009
John De Matteo, right, athletic director of M.A.T., has just been named middle school teacher of the year in New York City.
Backboard leader wins Blackboard Award
John De Matteo, the athletic director who built the Manhattan Academy of Technology’s sports program from the ground up, received a Blackboard Award this week for public middle school teacher of the year in New York City.
“I was totally, totally excited,” De Matteo said. He received a plaque at a ceremony Monday night hosted by author and former public school teacher Frank McCourt.
When De Matteo was nominated, he was told no physical education teacher had ever won the award before, so he didn’t have high expectations. But being the first is nothing new to De Matteo, who has pioneered many new sports at M.A.T., a K-8 school in Chinatown, including surfing and table tennis. He also founded several citywide leagues so his students would be able to compete.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” De Matteo said of the award. “People are recognizing that physical education is important, and I’m glad.”