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Dr. Matthew Mann, the ultimate Widefield success story

 

Last updated 12/21/2021 at 3:46pm



The Widefield Community lost an incredible member on Nov. 20, 2021, when Dr. Matthew J. Mann passed away suddenly. He was 49 years old.

Dr. Mann may not be a celebrity in the Widefield lexicon, but he should be. He represents everything that makes the Security-Widefield area unique and remarkable, and he is one of the best representatives to carry Widefield's banner through his career.

Like many in the area, Dr. Mann was a child of military parents. He was born in Kentucky, and as many Army Brats, lived in Hawaii, California, Germany, and Colorado. And just like the numerous military kids who have called Colorado home, he landed in Widefield when his dad was stationed at Fort Carson. His mom and dad built a home on Fountain Mesa so that Dr. Mann could attend 10th and 11th schools of his childhood: Janitell Junior High and Widefield High School.

Dr. Mann was proud to be a Gladiator, carrying the torch for Widefield High School's Speech and Debate team before graduating in 1991. He took those skills to Adams State University in Alamosa, CO, attending on a debate scholarship while studying History and Government. Before graduating Adams State in 1994, he met his wife Sara and, with her, discovered his love of teaching. Both Sara and Dr. Mann completed their student teaching in rural schools in the San Luis Valley.

After completing their student teaching, Sara and Dr. Mann moved to San Antonio, Texas. His career launched from that point on, completing his Master and Doctoral studies at Texas A&M University - Kingsville in Education Administration in 2001 and 2011, respectively. Dr. Mann became an iconic school administrator in Texas, working as a Vice Principal and Principal at a number of schools before being hired as Superintendent of Pleasanton Independent School District in 2015, the community that he called home up to his passing in late 2021.

What Dr. Mann represented to his family is not too different to what he represented to his students and employees. Dr. Mann was a boisterous and commanding presence, reeling you in with a firm handshake from his 6-foot 3-inch frame before leading every conversation with his laugh and his well-honed debate skills. Whether he sat at the kitchen table for a Thanksgiving dinner or in his office talking to impassioned parents, Dr. Mann's personality filled the room.

He had a knack for being stubborn in meetings and conversations, but his heart always served as his guide. At work, he knew best what his students needed and no one would leave the room before Dr. Mann secured the resources and support his kids deserved. Upon his hiring as Pleasanton ISD Superintendent, Dr. Mann walked into the Superintendent's office knowing that his kids needed more resources and a new elementary school. He was up to the task, and through his leadership secured the largest bond measure ever passed in Atascosa County, Texas.

Dr. Mann's legacy is solidified in Pleasanton, Texas, as an incredible leader of his schools, his community, and his church. But Widefield should not neglect the legacy of one of its many adopted sons. Dr. Mann's professional journey started with his experiences in the Fountain Valley, driving himself and his brother, Jason, around in his beat-up VW Bug bumping hip-hop music from Pi-Ute Park to Sunrise Elementary, his voice echoing from the top of the Mesa firmly through old Security and the halls of Widefield High.

He is the ultimate Widefield success story, the Army brat who established roots and a sense of community in the Fountain Valley. And like many of us, he carried that sense of community out into the world. Members of this community, both current and former, should strive to live up to Dr. Mann's legacy.

Trenten Robinson is the nephew of Dr. Matthew Mann.

 

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