Swing Education Names its 2020 Inductees into the Substitute Teacher Hall of Fame

Thursday, June 18, 2020 - 8:41 am

As we reflect on this past school year, now more than ever, it is important to honor the contributions educators made to help students succeed. Swing Education, a staffing application for substitute teachers, has chosen three exceptional educators for the 2020 inductee class of its Substitute Teacher Hall of Fame. After receiving nominations from across the country, the educators—Sheeja Mathews, Jennifer Rutledge, and Jim Strang—were selected based on their outstanding work and contributions to the students, teachers, and schools they serve.


“This year’s inductees show the immeasurable impact substitute teachers can have on students’ lives,” said Mike Teng, CEO of Swing Education. “From in-classroom teaching to remote learning support to dedicated mentorship and more, these educators are making a real difference and we are proud to recognize their hard work and dedication.”


The three inductees were chosen based on a number of factors, including their impact on students and the greater school community, going above and beyond, reliability, and more. The inductees will each receive a prize package that includes a $500 cash award, $250 for professional development or school supplies, and a commemorative plaque. They will also be profiled on the Swing Education website.


This year’s inductees are:


Sheeja Mathews, substitute teacher in Franklin Lakes, NJ

“As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a teacher to empower young minds and positively influence their lives and witness the development of their thinking,” said Mathews, who has more than 10 years of experience in teaching culturally-diverse student populations in various classroom settings.


“Ms. Mathews is an amazing person and teacher,” said a colleague of Mathews. “She was put into a very difficult substituting position taking over a class mid-year with little to no time to prepare. However, she was able to pull together a classroom filled with appropriate and rigorous learning opportunities for all of her students.”


Jennifer Rutledge, substitute teacher in Mt. Vernon, IL

“Jennifer has gone above and beyond since starting to substitute for a class where the teacher had to leave due to medical issues,” said a colleague of Rutledge. “She formed positive relationships with the students and families throughout the year and spends additional hours nurturing the relationships with the students. Even through this nationwide pandemic, she continues to work with the students in her class. She makes phone calls daily and holds multiple Zoom meetings with groups and individuals, depending on the need of the students—she has embraced this new normal of e-learning without missing a beat!”


“When I entered the class on the first day, it was like I never stopped teaching,” said Rutledge, who after a six-year hiatus from teaching is currently pursuing an elementary education certification through an Alternative Route to Licensure program and will be teaching first grade this coming school year. “As I taught this year, I learned that it is time for me to return to the classroom permanently to fulfill my purpose as a mentor, advocate, and educator.”


Jim Strang, substitute teacher in Avon, OH

Following a 40-year career in journalism, Strang has been substitute teaching for the last 12 years at Avon Local School District. “The interaction with the young people, other teachers, and administrators has been deeply rewarding,” he said.


“He not only substitute teaches for grades 6-12, but also attends as many boys and girls basketball games, football games, band and orchestra concerts, and any other extra-curricular activity that he possibly can,” said a middle school teacher from the district. “The students absolutely adore him.”


“He treats all students like they are his own and takes the time out of his day to get to know and understand them,” added one of Strang’s students.


Mathews, Rutledge, and Strang join the inaugural class of Substitute Teacher Hall of Fame inductees which includes Valerie Aduba, who teaches at multiple schools in Sacramento, CA; Michael Packard, who teaches at The Renaissance Academy in Phoenixville, PA; and Ralph Starace, who teaches at Sussex County Technical School in Sparta, NJ.


To learn more about the Substitute Teacher Hall of Fame by Swing Education and this year’s inductees, visit https://swingeducation.com/substitute-teacher-hall-of-fame/.


About Swing Education

Founded in 2015, Swing Education offers a staffing application to provide qualified substitute teachers for K-12 schools. The company comprehensively recruits, screens, and permits educators to fill teacher and support staff absences. Schools and substitutes are efficiently matched through Swing Education’s online marketplace, with substitute teachers selecting job opportunities via text or a mobile app. The company’s pool of substitute teachers includes both veteran educators and trained professionals who are entering into the education community through Swing Education. To date, Swing Education has helped more than 2,500 school partners and over 5 million students. To learn more about Swing Education, visit www.swingeducation.com.