Diller Matthews III
Eighth Grade Science Teacher
E. L. Haynes Public Charter School, Washington, D.C.
Four years ago two of Diller Matthews’ dreams came true. In 2011 he became a teacher and he became a father. As Diller recently said, “I believe in working hard and in achieving goals that will leave me with few regrets.” Upon graduation from James Madison University, Diller worked in an office and then in sales. These pursuits felt hollow to Diller who longed to become a teacher. Once Diller received his teacher certification he first taught in a suburban Atlanta high school where he also coached swimming and golf. He currently teaches eighth grade science at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. and spends many hours outside the classroom tutoring and mentoring his students who may not have great support at home. Diller tries to instill a strong work ethic in his students, and he encourages them to set goals and work hard to achieve them. Diller spoke passionately about his job and is thrilled to finally have a rewarding career in education.
Diller finds inspiration as a teacher in two of his favorite ACPS teachers. Diller always thought highly of his English teacher, Edward Cannon, due to the positive attitude Mr. Cannon brought to school every day. Mr. Cannon also thought very highly of Diller. In Diller’s senior year Mr. Cannon wrote of him, “Diller carries his exuberance for life into every activity that he attempts. He has participated in some excellent community programs, expanding his horizons while helping others. Each summer, Diller has traveled to Honduras to the El Hogar Boys Orphanage as a member of a youth work crew that builds, repairs, and paints for the local people. He finds it arduous, but gratifying work. It is obviously a character-building experience.” Diller was also inspired by his seventh and eighth grade science teacher at George Washington Middle School, Ms. Gillespie. She clearly wanted her students to be successful and pushed them to excel. Diller feels the same way about the students that he teaches. Diller believes that the choices his students are making now will affect their lives. He often talks with them about planning for their futures and thinking now about what they may want to study in college.
Diller received his B.A. in Political Science from James Madison University in only three years. He met his wife, Maria Montiel, at T.C. and they started dating senior year. In fact, Diller and Maria were co-captains of the T.C. Swim/Dive team that year. Diller and Maria have a young son and daughter, and Diller relishes his role as father. He loves teaching his son to ice skate and play hockey and taking their children to all their favorite hometown spots.
Diller received the North Ridge Citizens’ Association Scholarship. When asked what advice Diller would have for current Scholarship Fund of Alexandria scholarship recipients he said, “Work hard and set goals. Make sure you do everything you can to accomplish your goals!”
T.C. Williams, Class of 2001
B.A., Political Science, James Madison University