Eastside aviation instructor AFA’s Kentucky Teacher of the Year
The Air Force Association (AFA) has selected Matthew Simpson of Eastside Technical Center as its 2021 State Teacher of the Year for Kentucky. An aviation and drone instructor, Simpson joined Fayette County Public Schools about 18 months ago as Eastside established its Aviation/Unmanned Aerial Systems program. “My approach to teaching is to relate to the students and try to understand where they are coming from,” he said, noting, “We like to be hands-on and train on the Redbird simulator the same way you would be taught in an actual training session in a Cessna 172 aircraft.”
A Bell County native of Pineville, Simpson earned a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of Kentucky. He is also a certified flight instructor and commercial pilot. Other interests have included coaching football in Bourbon County and mentoring youngsters through Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass.
Retired Air Force pilot Chris Campbell, a flight instructor and a mentor to Simpson, nominated him for the statewide honor. The AFA, a Virginia-based nonprofit organization, recognizes classroom teachers for exciting K-12 students about science, technology, engineering, and math fields, and for preparing students to use and contribute to new technologies. “I was humbled and grateful for having the opportunity to apply for such a prestigious award,” said Simpson, who appreciates the support of Principal Brian Miller, colleague Michelle Rauch, and the rest of the Eastside staff.