Compassionate Schools Project Teacher Wins Award, Calls CSP a Movement

In her acceptance speech for a prestigious teaching award, Meghann Clem Mattingly said something extraordinary about the Compassionate Schools Project (CSP). “I believe this to be more than a project. I believe this to be a movement. And being a part of this movement has been the biggest honor of my career yet.” 

Mattingly who teaches at Louisville's Cane Run Elementary School, received the ExCEL Award (The Excellence in Classroom and Educational Leadership Award) where she implements the CSP curriculum.

'I had always been passionate about teaching my students social-emotional skills. There had always been such a deficit in this area for our students. However the demands of being a teacher pushed those needs to the back,' she said.

“This curriculum is so well-written that it truly has the potential to change the trajectory of the lives of our students. There is no greater feeling for a teacher than to be a part of something so profound.”

Mattingly thanked the leadership Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) and at Cane Run: Dr. Donna Hargens, Principal Kim Coslow, Miss Phillips, and Dr. Alexis Harris.

She said Principal Coslow’s support “is changing the face of our school to a more compassionate place to learn.” 

Mattingly almost quit teaching because of her own struggles with learning and dyslexia.

She told her parents, 'I had to quit teaching immediately because I was going to teach these children the wrong answers, and I couldn't live with that.'

Her parents reminded her that she wasn't a quitter. Then they asked her if she could recognize the students in her classroom who struggled the same ways that she did. She could. Her parents told her to let her students know they were not alone, that they we're all human, that it's ok to own our mistakes, and challenges, and to embrace them and not hide from them.

'This is was my first lesson in becoming a good teacher, and the foundation I built my classroom on,' she said.

She was open about her struggles with all of her students and by doing so, modeled that hard work and dedication would building blocks of success. She'd also learned that in our most vulnerable moments we become our true selves.

When Mattingly learned she received this award, she wondered if she was a good enough teacher to receive it. In the CSP curriculum they learn to identify their emotions, so she recognized she was feeling fear. She was then able to calm herself and breath and find her answer.

The answer was she makes mistakes and is indeed good enough to receive this award. 'Just like the students sitting in her classroom. They embrace their mistakes and learn from them. This is what makes them great students,' she said.

“I’m not a perfect teacher, but I’m a teacher dedicated to be my best self and that is what makes me good enough.”


Mattingly Video at 49 seconds — Her moving story about almost quitting, but instead persevering through one of her biggest challenges.

Mattingly Video at minute 7:43 — Mattingly describes the support she received from mentors and administrators of CSP and her thoughts about the project. 'I believe this to be more than a project. I believe this to be a movement. And being a part of this movement has been the biggest honor of my career yet.'

Watch the full ceremony.

Related Resources:
JCPS Website - Cane Run Elementary Teacher Wins ExCEL Award

WHAS 11 News

Compassionate Schools Project Website