Expeditionary Learning School

Dr. Matt Strand

Dr. Matt Strand's picture
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About Me
What inspired you to get into the field of education?: 

I was a wilderness instructor after college - leading long backcountry trips with youth in the Montana wilderness.  I loved working with students in the outdoors, but I felt like I could have a greater impact if I found a way to combine my passion for experiential learning with a public school classroom.  

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?: 

The most rewarding part of my job is seeing students learn to take ownership of their learning. When students become leaders of their own learning - exploring possibilities, taking creative risks, using feedback, and persevering - they discover that they have more in them than they ever thought possible.  

General background information (years in education, degree(s), Universities/Colleges attended): 

I attended Texas Christian University (TCU) as an English major for my undergraduate program.  I returned to TCU after my time in Montana to complete a master's degree in Educational Research.  I moved to Fort Collins in 2001 to help found Pioneer School for Expeditionary Learning, which was the precursor to Polaris.  During that time, I completed my PhD in education at Colorado State University.  But being a part of the Polaris community has had the greatest impact on me as a teacher, learner, and person.


I love to cook, play music, scuba dive, hike, jump into rivers and lakes, create art, and make terrible puns.  Spending quality time with my wife and two sons is also important to me. 

Thought Provoking Quote: 

Man did not weave the web of life.  He is merely a strand in it.  Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

- Chief Seattle