Foundation Stories

Special Event – Meet Your New Favorite Teacher

Meet Your Favorite Teacher: Matt Eicheldinger April 2024 Library Event

written by Shelley O’Brien, Executive Director of the Johnson County Library Foundation

One of the fun things about being a donor to the Johnson County Library Foundation is that we invite you to special events. On April 17, 2024, we hosted a private reception with author and middle school language arts teacher Matt Eicheldinger. According to Matt, you pronounce his last name “Eye-Coal-Ding-Rrrr”.

Easy, right?

Matt Eicheldinger, speaker, Phyllis and Erwin Abrams, donors and board member, Ben Sunds, Associate Director for the library

Matt has multiple books coming out in 2024 and 2025 with Kansas City’s own Andrews McMeel Universal. This includes, “Matt Sprouts and the Curse of the Ten Broken Toes” for elementary school-aged students. Additionally, coming out in the fall will be “Sticky Notes: Memorable Lessons from Ordinary Moments” with stories about grief, joy, and compassion.

Johnson County Library Foundation former board member Caroline McKnight has called Matt the “Modern Mr. Rogers” in his approach to writing and posting videos on his Instagram (you can follow him at @matteicheldinger). His positive outlook on children, our times, and personal challenges, reframes his approach to teaching, and inspires others. Not to mention, most of his stories are funny and charming – focusing on family, learning, and resiliency.

Maybe more importantly, via storytelling, he connects with the audience. During his speech there was a lot of laughter, and a lot of “awwws” from the audience.

Matt shared a “Sticky Notes” story with us. He was teaching an elementary school class with a student who had gone quiet. She had spoken in the past but had recently stopped speaking. Matt asked the other teachers for help, but they didn’t know what to do. He came up with the idea of leaving a sticky note on her desk before she arrived at school each day. Sometimes it was a drawing, or a memorable phrase, but something to connect with this one student. Years later she returned to Matt’s class to thank him, and she had saved all his encouraging sticky notes.

Matt’s books and a thank you to sponsors Andrews McMeel Universal

Eicheldinger’s career trajectory includes years of teaching elementary school, years of literary agent rejection letters, Instagram success with sharing stories via video, and now writing and hoping for literary success. Many in the audience were impressed with his tenacity and hustle.

We thank Matt for sharing his special knack for storytelling with us. It was a wonderful evening. In addition, we thanked our newest members of the 1952 Society. A BIG thank you to Mel and Alice Hawk, Chris and Bonnie Limbird, and Leigh Anne and Bill Neal, who have all placed the library in their estate plans.

For more information about donating now or in the future through your estate or will, give me a call at (202) 923-6458 (cell) or [email protected] via email. I’m happy to meet you for coffee and give you a copy of Matt’s book.

  1. Alonzo Fuller with Andrews McMeel Universal, Kelly Kilgore, Johnson County Library Board Chair, and Shelley R. O’Brien, Executive Director for the Johnson County Library Foundation
  2. Guest Chalen David and foundation board member Anne Blessing
  3. Christi and Ken Eaton
  4. Chuck Sipple, foundation board member, Julie Steiner, foundation president, and Tricia Suellentrop, County Librarian
  5. Guests Ian Donahoe and Jason Webb
  6. Deputy County Librarian Kinsley Riggs and former foundation board member Caroline McKnight watching speaker Matt Eicheldinger
  7. Guest Mel Haas and foundation past president Leigh Anne Neal
  8. Guest Shannon Skoglund and Lisa Larson-Bunnell, Johnson County Library Foundation Board Member
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