Meet Mr. McCarthy, School District’s New Supervisor of Arts Education

Ananya Gupta, Writer

This year has brought many changes: new students, a new principal at Bridgewater-Raritan High School, and now a new supervisor.

Mr. Matt McCarthy is the Supervisor of Arts Education for the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District. He launched his career here in Bridgewater-Raritan in late March when he replaced Dr. Laura Bassett, who moved on to become the Principal of the Eisenhower Intermediate School.

He will be working with dozens of teachers to ensure that students are able to pursue art, music, drama, and more, at all levels through the 11 schools in the district.

To commemorate his hard work and achievements, let’s take a deeper look at his life and journey here:

What did you study in college that encouraged you to start this journey?

“I didn’t get to do a lot of art and music when I was in high school; it was mostly extracurricular pursuits… but I knew I wanted to pursue the arts… so I went to the School of Visual Arts… when I graduated I spent some time in visual arts, doing some advertising work, fine art paintings of portraits or houses, and things like that… but I realized that it wasn’t a great fit for my personality… and after doing all these jobs I decided to finally take the leap and go into education… I saw it as a way I could keep pursuing my artistic interests and share those with other people.”

What motivated you to pursue this particular career?

“Well, I was a visual arts teacher for a long time — for the past 12 years. And as time went on, I started to think more about art education and ways to provide better opportunities for students. In the classroom, you’re limited to what you can do in the classroom, but I began to get opportunities to look at the school as a whole — the district as a whole… The ability to think about the big picture really stuck with me and making changes that would impact not just a class but an entire program was amazing.”

What inspired you to come to BR?

“A couple of things were sort of on my wish list. First, I really like… the complexity of it [a big district]. East Brunswick also has 11 schools, with a similar size, so Bridgewater was comfortable to me… And I also really appreciate being in a place where there is a diversity of interest, a cultural background — things like that make a vibrant and exciting learning environment. Also, this particular role is very much a dream role, and smaller districts don’t really have a role like this!”

What would you recommend for those aspiring to work in education?

“I think that the best quality someone can have if they want to pursue a path in education is the willingness to continue to learn. At the end of the day, no matter what subject it is, we’re always continually learning… The best teachers aren’t teaching you a subject — they’re teaching you how to learn and how to ask specific questions… and as the classroom and the students are always changing, the curiosity and the willingness to keep working at something is something that really benefits you.”

If you had to choose one word to describe yourself what would it be?

“The thing I loved about art was exploring the things I wanted to. But working for the client didn’t have that relationship… So, once I made my way to the classroom, starting out as a substitute teacher. I realized I liked hearing about the students — hearing about their ideas… So, I guess the main aspect of myself that inspired me to turn to education is that I love getting to know people and finding out what they’re passionate about.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“Well, I have three kids. My two older kids are twins, a boy and a girl who are going to be 9 soon, and a 4-year-old boy. So, we do a lot of family activities. And relatively recently, I also developed a love of running… I really enjoy the challenge of doing long-distance running… I also pick up my guitar and play every day, sort of to clear my head. Finding the time to do things is kind of hard, but I always try to paint too!”

To conclude the interview, The Prowler would like to give a big thank you to Mr. McCarthy for his time and congratulate him for the position!