I’m glad you are here, it means we have something in common - we are both seeking to make a positive difference in students’ lives and we know that school is a place that can make this happen. Maybe we have met already at a conference or in a school auditorium or maybe this is your first time to learn about SEL Launchpad? My name is Keeth “Coach Rudy” Matheny and I am passionate about nurturing emotional intelligence for children, adolescents, and educators.  You could say I am invested in launching programs, curricula, and initiatives that deepen students’ emotional intelligence and thus their academic performance, proactive mental health, and prosocial behaviors.  This is why I started SEL Launchpad.

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What I Do:

I help inspire people to launch SEL programs, provide best practices for developing strong SEL programs, and train teachers to teach SEL skills in engaging and effective ways.

My Mission:

My mission is to make sure every student gets an engaging and collaborative high quality social and emotional learning based seminar that is taught by a dedicated, passionate, trained, and supported teacher within a positive class climate. I have seen the impact of this practice first hand and have observed it replicated at other schools. I intend to yell this message from the rooftops until it is a national practice.


R. Keeth Matheny, AKA “Coach Rudy,” is a national award-winning teacher, author, and speaker. In addition, he was a member of the Aspen Institute’s Social Emotional Academic Development (SEAD) Council of Distinguished Educators and supported the creation of their “A Nation at Hope” report. Keeth is a passionate and dedicated former classroom teacher with over 25 years of experience. He created and taught an innovative freshman SEL seminar which was featured in an article in The Atlantic, and has now spread to many more schools and districts.

The results he saw in his classroom and in the lives of his students ignited a passion for sharing about educating the whole child which resulted in hundreds of people coming to visit his classroom and in turn asking him to help start social emotional and academic development (SEAD) programs at their own schools. To respond to these requests and to continue learning himself, Keeth decided to create SEL Launchpad, an organization that provides engaging, inspiring, and actionable professional learning to help launch and support SEAD programs.


Keeth/Coach Rudy is very active in creating activities and lesson plans that support prosocial, proactive mental health behaviors,  academic skill acquisition and application for students.  A great example of his work can be found in the curriculum, School-Connect, of which Keeth is co-author. School-Connect is a research and evidence-based social and emotional learning curriculum used in over 3,000 secondary schools. He is also a frequent keynote speaker on SEAD, emotional intelligence, and multi-tiered systems of student support. In addition, Keeth wrote a well-received book, ExSELent Teaching, which is designed to help make social emotional and academic supports a part of every classroom’s routines and culture. 

Like all of us, Keeth found himself at home in March 2020 with the onset of COVID. His desire to support students with at-home learning and with their well-being manifested in a series of free SEL video lessons for remote teachers to use during spring school closures. These videos had over 100,000 users from more than a dozen countries. Luckily, his son, who is a filmmaker, was home from college to help make this happen!

Keeth lives in Austin,Texas with his wife of 25 yrs and is the father of two children. He loves sunsets, music, spending time with family and friends, and hearing from his former students.

Highlights of SEL Launchpad: 

Keeth/Coach Rudy has . . . 

  • Helped launch over 400 SEAD programs in secondary schools across the United States;
  • Led over 800+ teacher training sessions for many thousands of educators in rural and urban settings from coast to coast and even internationally;
  • Presented the keynote for over 18 conferences; 
  • Presented at two congressional briefings on Social and Emotional Learning in Washington, D.C.

Select Awards for Keeth Matheny:

  • 2021 CASEL SELLY Award Winner - SEL Leaders of the Year (Mary Utne O’Brien Award Winner) for SEL for excellence in expanding the evidence-based practice of social and emotional learning;
  • 2015 Award Winner of the Crystal Star Award for Excellence in Supporting Student Success from the National Dropout Prevention Center
  •   2021-2022 and 2022-2023 selected as a US State Department Global Fellow - Selected by US State Department American Councils Professional Fellows Program for a strategic partnership to support international education in Azerbaijan and Malaysia. In both projects he collaborated with the Ministry of Education to do training with educational stakeholders and decision-makers. For the Malaysia partnership, Keeth was able to provide on-site support as he was sponsored for a two week visit by the US State Dept.