Cinnaminson High School chemistry teacher wins educator of the year

While teaching may not have been Matt Perekupka’s first choice, he has since developed a passion for helping students learn real life science.

Serenity Bishop The Sun: Cinnaminson High School Chemistry Teacher Matt Perekupka poses in his classroom on Wednesday, Jan. 15. Perekupka was named Cinnaminson High School’s Educator of the Year for his hard work and positive impact within the high school.

It is said every person is born with a natural talent.

Matt Perekupka’s natural talent is teaching. The Cinnaminson High School chemistry teacher’s mother was a middle-school science and math instructor and his father was also a math teacher.

But Perekupka didn’t exactly follow in his parents’ footsteps; he originally went to school for chemistry. Once he graduated, he began looking for work in a lab, but ultimately,  found his way to Cinnaminson.

Call it destiny.

Perekupka’s accomplishments made his colleagues and school administrators take notice. That’s why he was rewarded this month with the Cinnaminson High School Educator of the Year award. 

“My parents were both teachers and I have a lot of family that are teachers, so it’s kind of in my blood,” said Perekupka. “When I graduated and was looking for a job, my dad actually taught in this building [Cinnaminson High School]. In the process of interviewing in laboratory positions, he came home and said there was a position open for a chemistry teacher.

“I said that might be an issue because I don’t have an education degree,” Perekupka recalled. “He goes, ‘New Jersey has a program where you can get certified while you teach; why don’t you come down and meet with the supervisor.’

“And 15 years later, here I am.”

“It (the award) is something you never really think about; you know you just try to do your job, but it was a great honor,” said Perekupka. “I truly love where I work, the people I work with and the students I teach. So just to know that I made some kind of positive impact on the people I work with every day, it meant a lot to me.” 

Perekupka has developed a passion for teaching during his years at the high school, and in doing so, has impacted many students by inspiring in them a true love of chemistry. 

“The passion is just helping students succeed, whether it be the student trying to prepare for the Ivy League school, down to the student that never thought or believed that they can do science or math and you help them have the breakthrough.” 

Cinnaminson High School Principal Ryan Gorman, said Perekupka has earned his award via  hard work. 

“I think that Matt is a skilled teacher all around, but I think what he is the best at is engaging students in real life science,” Gorman noted. “He is really talented at designing lessons and creating experiments and giving kids authentic experiences to see science in action in a way that’s exciting and engaging and gets them more interested in science.

“I think this award is a recognition of the good work he has been doing all along,” Gorman added. “When we recognize our teachers and ESPs, we highlight a person that has been doing good work for years and recognizing the contribution they make to the high school.”