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Center Ideas: 5-with-5: Matt Finster

Headshot of Matt Finster

Matt Finster, Ph.D., co-leads capacity-building technical assistance services for the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE). He conducts regular assessments of WVDE’s needs, works collaboratively with WVDE leaders to plan and implement technical assistance projects, and identifies and shares relevant resources and tools. Matt sat down with us to answer five questions.

  • One

    What’s one thing you wish others knew or understood about the work of R5CC?

    The Region 5 Comprehensive Center is highly responsive and adaptable, tailoring its projects to directly address the high-leverage challenges articulated by education leaders in the region. This responsiveness ensures that the R5CC's work is both relevant and impactful, contributing to the advancement of education in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia by providing opportunities for all students to succeed.

  • Two

    When you think about R5CC’s upcoming work with states, what capacities are you the most excited about building? Why?

    When thinking about R5CC's upcoming work with West Virginia, assisting with the implementation of teacher leadership is particularly exciting. We have helped design the Teacher Leadership Framework and provided tools to support implementation. These capacity-building efforts contribute to enhancing teacher leadership opportunities, which, in turn, fosters better educational outcomes for students in West Virginia.

  • Three

    Which R5CC blog or resource is a ‘must see’ and why?

    One “must-see” tool we designed is Managing Teacher Leadership. The online resource aims to increase awareness and understanding of how to design, implement, and evaluate a formal teacher leadership program in a school or district. It presents nine sequenced modules that describe components critically important to managing a teacher leadership program. 

  • Four

    What’s one goal you have for R5CC in the coming year?

    My goal is to continue addressing the challenges identified by the Educator Preparation Taskforce (EPT). We played a crucial role in facilitating the EPT and identifying five specific challenges: the lack of a robust multi-channel marketing campaign, high costs associated with teacher preparation and licensure, barriers created by licensure testing and content-hour requirements, beginning teachers' lack of access to consistently high-quality induction and mentoring programs, and the absence of a comprehensive, single platform to deliver data on teacher preparation, recruitment, and retention. To further support the region's education system, we will focus on implementing solutions to overcome these challenges and improve the overall quality of teacher preparation and support in the region.

  • Five

    You can recommend one book (or podcast or movie) to a friend who will actually read. What’s the book?

    I would recommend Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals. It helps shift readers’ focus to encourage people to make the most out of their time alive.