Spring on the York College campus

Dr. Matthew E. McFarland Sr. '06

Gettysburg Area School District
"Tell everyone you can about your dreams, aspirations, and goals. They will remind you and hold you accountable." - Dr. Christine Lay, Gettysburg Area School District

Current City: New Oxford, PA

Hometown: East Prospect, PA

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

In 2012, I was nominated by my former principal, Dr. Larry Sanders (York College Alumni) for the Educator of the Year Award. Later that year, I was presented with the Educator of the Year Award by our state representatives. I consider this my greatest achievement to date, as my principal and the committee selected me to receive this award over several other highly qualified, seasoned, and well-credentialled educators. To be considered deserving of such an award by Dr. Sanders and the committee was touching and amazing. In addition, to be presented this award in front of my parents and all of my grandparents made this event extra special as they worked just as hard, maybe even harder, to earn the Educator of the Year Award as I did.

How did York College help you get to where you are today?

The experiences I was presented with as a student athlete in the classroom, on the wrestling mat, and elsewhere on the York College Campus helped lay the foundation of who and what I am today. I remember the fun times with friends, the stressful times preparing for exams, and even the exhausting times working out with my wrestling teammates. I believe all of these experiences were equally important to my overall development as a leader and individual. They forced me to learn how to prioritize my efforts and taught me that my experiences are only as valuable as the work and time that I put into them.

What was your favorite class/professor at York College and how did it/they impact you?

Dr. Michael McGough - Teaching Practicum -Dr. McGough is a natural story teller and any course you took with him was entertaining, informative, and an engaging learning experience. It was never about the grade with Dr. McGough, it was about the individual growth that was going to take place. Dr. McGough had a natural way of facilitating knowledge rather than presenting it. This course specifically took the information and knowledge that we obtained in our previous courses at York College and required us to apply them in real-life/real-time situations. The capstone of this course required us to completely prepare our professional paperwork, submit it to a current school superintendent, and then participate in an interview with that superintendent. Afterwards, the superintendent and Dr. McGough provided feedback on our professional paperwork and interview in order to further prepare us for our job search that would begin a short time afterwards. Talk about a real-life, authentic experience!! This experience provided by York College changed my life, as the school superintendent that I interviewed with for this class hired me as a 2nd grade teacher shortly after this experience.

What do you enjoy the most about your chosen career?

As principal of an elementary school, every day presents a new challenge. Rather, a new opportunity to impact someone’s life for the better. Whether it be a kindergarten or 5th grade student, parent, teacher, staff member, community member, or fellow administrator each day presents a new opportunity to help someone who needs it.

View all of the 2022 Spartans of the Year award recipients.