IU13 Announces Matthew Oberly as 2022 Annie Sullivan Winner
Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 (IU13) has named Matthew Oberly, an emotional support teacher as the 2022 Annie Sullivan Award recipient.
Named after Helen Keller’s lifelong teacher and companion, the award is presented to a professional who portrays exemplary care to students with disabilities while going beyond the classroom to help those in the community at large. The awarded professional is nominated by his or her peers, and selected by a committee of past award recipients. It is considered one of the highest honors given to special education professionals.
Matthew is well known for going above and beyond the expectations of teaching, and for becoming a caring mentor to his students. Matthew works hard to establish his classroom as a safe and welcoming place for students, from day one of their time there. He sets clear expectations and routines for them, always empowering them to own their academic journey with him towards the goal of not needing him anymore.
He is tenacious and finds ways to engage with his students to help them grow academically and emotionally beyond his classroom. Through acts like meeting parents at times beyond the typical school day, to serving as a reference for students, to giving his lunches to students who would otherwise not eat that day, to even procuring a bicycle for a student and teaching her how to ride it so she could get to work, he has earned the respect and cooperation of his students, as well as acclaim from his coworkers.
As part of his nomination, he received the following praises from students and parents. One student said of him, “Mr. Oberly has helped me become the young lady I am today.” Another student said, “Mr. Oberly has helped me by cheering up some of my days with his jokes. Mr. Oberly is always willing to take time to talk with me about [multiple] topics.” A parent said, “One visit [to his classroom] is all you need to see he is an outstanding and therapeutic emotional support teacher.”
We are so proud of Matthew and all he has accomplished for his students and our community, and we look forward to his bright future ahead.
Matthew joined IU13 in 2006. His IU13 classroom is located in the Conestoga Valley School District.