R. Keeth Matheny, AKA “Coach Rudy,” is a national award-winning teacher, author, and speaker. He is the 2021 Mary Utne O’Brien Award Winner for excellence in expanding the evidence-based practice of social and emotional learning. He also was the 2015 winner of the Crystal Star Award for Excellence in supporting student success from the National Dropout Prevention Center. In addition, he was a member of the Aspen Institute’s SEAD Council of Distinguished Educators and supported the creation of their “A Nation at Hope” report. Keeth is the founder of SEL Launchpad, an organization that provides engaging, inspiring, and actionable professional development to help launch and support SEL programs. 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. Keeth is a co-author of School-Connect, a research and evidence-based social and emotional learning curriculum which is used in over two thousand secondary schools. He is a frequent keynote speaker on SEL, emotional intelligence, and multi-tiered systems of student supports. In March 2020, with the help of his son, a filmmaker, he created 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. Since 2014, he has helped launch over four hundred SEL programs in secondary schools, led over three hundred teacher trainings, keynoted for eighteen conferences, and presented at two congressional briefings on Social and Emotional Learning in Washington DC. Keeth lives in Austin Texas with his wife of 25yrs and is the father of two children.