May 17, 2018
By David Nordby The Brillion News
REEDSVILLE – June 4 has been a special day in Matt Jaszewski’s life.
“I graduated high school June 4, I got married June 4 and I’m retiring June 4,” he explains. “It must mean something … I’m hoping that the lottery’s going to be in there too.”
Reedsville’s longtime technology education teacher and district technology coordinator is set for retirement, lottery ticket or not. Born in Winona, Minnesota, Jaszewski became a mainstay in Reedsville.
“Originally I did think this was going to be a stepping stone to a larger district,” Jaszewski said. “I guess what really kept me here was the students. Good families. We just don’t have the issues that bigger school districts have.”
After 37 years, he’s calling it a career and leaving the tech ed department in a better place than he found it.
The department physically makes up about 25 percent of the school’s blueprint and offers woods, drafting, graphic communication, offset printing, heat press, screen printing and other skills to students. It’s a drastic difference from 1981 when the department was simply known as industrial arts.
The biggest change has been technology, naturally. It’s something that Jaszewski has always embraced, he says, in part because of how much easier technology has made the job.
“It’s gotten a lot easier,” he says. “I remember years ago making plans … Drawing them up was pretty difficult and labor intensive, really. Now it’s so much easier.”
Eventually he transitioned into also being the district’s coordinator.
“I stayed with it and that’s basically how I moved into the role of technology coordinator because I was the first, basically, to have those,” he said.
In 1987, Jaszewski went with administration to check out Wild Rose’s newly added technology.
“We saw they could manipulate the text,” he remembers. “The administration was just fascinated. So was I, for that fact … The computers we had in college were the size of a room.”
Reedsville became one of the top spots in the state for technology under the guidance of Jaszewski. The school’s first purchases were two Macintosh computers and a laser printer in 1987. It grew from there.
“At one time, we had more computer technology than Stout had in their graphics department,” Jaszewski recalls. “Now if you go to the tech ed room, my classroom is a computer lab basically.”
Jaszewski remembers not everyone being ready for the changes that technology brought, but that the district first worked to at least get each classroom a computer for teacher grading.
“A lot of teachers were afraid of the computer … There were some interesting things. I once had a teacher email me to tell me her email wasn’t working,” Jaszewski recalls with amusement. “There was some resistance.”
Now, Jaszewski says every student has a computer in their pocket, referring to their smartphones.
Teaching his heir apparent
This final school year, Jaszewski has had the unique job of teaching his successor in the tech ed department, Louis VandeHey. VandeHey is a 2008 Wrightstown High School graduate who went to NWTC and then was on active duty with the Navy for five years.
Please see the complete story in the May 17, 2018 edition of The Brillion News.