As a human resources executive at Ford Motor Co. and then Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Eric Mathews ’88 knows what it takes to be successful in business. As a former teammate of new UD men’s basketball head coach Anthony Grant ’87, he also knows what it takes to work as a team to be competitive and reach goals.
Now Mathews uses his skills as a career-education teacher in the Akron (Ohio) Public Schools. He was drawn to teaching several years ago as the perfect balance between preparation and success and was recognized as the Association for Career and Technical Education Teacher of the Year in 2015. He also received praise from President Barack Obama at the White House in 2016 during Teacher Appreciation Week.
“I have a passion to prepare students to be career- and post-secondary-ready. In the classroom, my students learn collaboration, problem solving and critical-thinking skills. They work as a group to develop new ideas and support each other with their roles and responsibilities,” he said.
Mathews sees his presence in the classroom as a role model for students on how persistence, hard work and preparation can help them achieve positive outcomes in life. “My students are involved in laboratory activities, internships, job shadowing and participation in DECA (Distribution Education Clubs of America) competitions. This will help them in college or the workforce.”
Mathews, an Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity member, advises those considering a career change to teaching to “follow your passion” and have a role in “developing the future leaders of our great country and have a lasting impact on lives.” He adds, “When I was at UD, I never thought that I would be a teacher. What I can say is that UD taught me a sense of community and of giving back to society. Guess what — I’m doing it. Many lives have been effected positively.”