Matt Kline finished 10th in his first Technology Student Association state competition in computer-assisted design as a Northern Cambria High School sophomore.
Today, as a Northern Cambria teacher is at the top after being named the Pennsylvania TSA’s Middle School Chapter Adviser of the Year.
Today, Kline and his wife and fellow teacher, Sarah, coach the Northern Cambria TSA team. Kline also serves as District 8 coordinator and oversees other advisers in the region.
“I’ve been lucky to have great students and supportive parents, an administration that backs us and a community that has helped us with donations and fundraising,” Kline said.
TSA is a national, non-profit career and technical student organization of middle and high school students engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The couple “Do a wonderful job working with our TSA students,” said Lisa Prebish, principal at Northern Cambria High School. “They work with our students after school hours, on weekends and during holidays to get them ready for competition. Our students place in regional, state and national competitions every year, and it is due to their efforts, drive and support of the TSA Program.
With 35 high school and 35 middle school areas of competition, TSA has expanded exponentially since Kline competed as a student when the categories were computer-assisted-design and structural engineering in 2000.
Today’s TSA competitions are categorized by career pathways in architecture and construction technology, communications technology, computer science and information technology, leadership, manufacturing and transportation technology, STEM technology and research.
More than 3,500 teachers serve as advisers in more than 2,300 schools in 48 states, according to the TSA website.
For the first time after the pandemic forced schools and extracurricular events like TSA to go virtual, more than 6,000 TSA participants, advisers and parents gathered in Dallas, Texas, at the end of June for national competitions.
Julie Dumm, 14, an eighth grader, was among the students who traveled to the national competition.
“He’s amazing with the kids,” said Shelly Dumm, Julie’s mother. Julie has been involved with TSA since sixth grade and will be a freshman at Northern Cambria in the fall.
“He encourages all of us students,” Julie said in a phone interview.. “He is my favorite teacher. The way he teaches is so different and makes him stand out.
“It was the most exciting thing to happen to me. I really care about this stuff, and my heart raced the whole time,” Julie said. “He was as excited as us students.”
Being named as Pennsylvania’s Middle School Chapter Adviser of the Year came as a “bit of a surprise,” to Kline.
He was nominated by Brandt Hutzel, a former Forest Hills graduate who previously served as Region 8 coordinator. Hutzel moved to Camp Hill and is the technology and engineering adviser for the state Department of Education.
When Hutzel put forth Kline’s name for one of the highest TSA awards, the state directors were unanimously in favor, he said. “Matt’s extremely innovative. He’s done things that are very unique as a regional coordinator.”
Kline initiated having students serve as regional representatives, which has enhanced the students’ leadership capabilities and skills, Hutzel said, and has resulted in three students from Region 8 serving at the state office level.
“Matt has helped the students develop their leadership skills and confidence,” Hutzel said.
“I feel quite honored,” Kline said of receiving the award.
TSA has grown tremendously since Kline participated as a student and later as a new teacher and TSA adviser at Bedford Area High School in 2009. His first year as an adviser, he had students place in nationals and for seven years his students placed in the state finals.
Kline’s former TSA advisor and technology education teacher, Ed Link of Northern Cambria, assisted Kline in establishing the chapter in Bedford. Later, when a teaching opportunity presented itself at Northern Cambria, Kline returned to his alma mater.
Together, Kline and Link planned and hosted three regional TSA conferences. Link retired in 2021 after 36 years of teaching. Link still serves as a regional and state competition judge.
“Matt has the ability to focus not so much on the glory of the award or event but instead he has the ability to understand the impact that TSA has brought long term to his students,” Link said.
Link reminisced about Kline’s first state competition when he was a sophomore and became ill. Fortunately, Kline had finished his CAD competition but left before the award ceremony where he placed 10th in the state. Link and the other students delivered his pin to him on the drive home.
Region 8 comprises 15 high school chapters.
At the recent nationals, Region 8 had the most national champions with five, Kline said, and had nine students place among the top three. Overall, 89 students placed in 42% of the national competitions offered, he said.
As Region 8 coordinator for the past five years, Kline assists the other chapter advisers and their students.
The Kline File
Name: Matthew Kline
Family: Wife, Sarah; their children, Amelia, Charlotte, Michael and Warren; and parents, Patrick and Gina Kline of Nicktown
Education: 2002 Northern Cambria High School; undergraduate degree in technology education with a minor in mathematics, summa cum laude; Master’s in education in technology education and 2021 STEM Endorsement Program from California University of Pennsylvania.
Employment: Teacher at Northern Cambria School District since 2014 and previously at Bedford Area School District
Community service: Pennsylvania Technology Student Association Region 8 coordinator; Boy Scouts of America assistant scoutmaster, Troop 2066 Nicktown; AYSO soccer coach, Carrolltown fall league; St. Nicholas Catholic School basketball coach; Barr-Watkins soccer coach, spring league
Awards and honors: PA Middle School Chapter Adviser of the Year by the Technology Student Association; attained Eagle Scout rank in Boy Scouts