About Matt

Matt is co-author of the book, Making Grades Matter: Standards-Based Grading in a Secondary PLC at Work (2020, Solution Tree).  He is a former district administrator and secondary teacher in the Solon Community School District (Solon, IA) where he led curriculum, assessment and school improvement initiatives, all with a professional learning community culture as foundation.  District Administration magazine named Solon Community Schools a district of distinction in 2015, and Solution Tree recognized multiple buildings in the district as professional learning communities during his tenure.  Through conferences, professional development and workshops,  Dr. Townsley has consulted with thousands of educators and parents across the country on the topics of assessment and standards-based grading.

In 2017, Matt was named Iowa’s Central Office Administrator of the year and in 2014, he was recognized as an ASCD Emerging Leader.  His writing has been published in journals such as Educational Leadership, School AdministratorNASSP Bulletin, and American Secondary Education. He has been featured or quoted on The Christian Science Monitor, CNN.com, The Washington Post, California and Kansas public radio, the Center for Digital EducationEducation Week, as well as presented at the Learning Forward Annual Conference and the National Conference on Education.

Matt received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics education from Wartburg College, a master’s degree in curriculum and instructional technology from Iowa State University, a certificate of advanced study in educational leadership from the University of Northern Iowa, and a doctorate in school improvement from the University of West Georgia.

Dr. Townsley is currently an assistant professor of educational leadership at the University of Northern Iowa.