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Sleepless nights and tireless work: The story behind the smiling face of Matt Polsinello

Merritt Sellers
Matt Poslinello managing the Christmas decorating on east 2

Staying up for the “Wordle” to come out may seem crazy, but for Matt Polsenello, it’s perfectly on brand. Matt Polsinello is a responsible  resident faculty at San Domenico School and a valuable friend to those around him.

“He’s a very tall, free, and caring guy. He cares about other people more than he cares about himself. He loves sports and he’s pretty smart,” Emily Polsinello, Matt Polsinello’s sister, said. “That pretty much sums him up.”

Matt Polsinello is a very likable person and has some incomparable charm to him that may be hard to define.

“I think people like him because he genuinely cares about other people,” Emily Polsinello said. “They can pick up on that and feel that energy.”

Sela Forte, a senior boarder at SD, has a positive impression of Matt Polsinello. From dressing up as him for Halloween, to complimenting his crazy socks, their interactions have a light and fun dynamic.

Matt Polsinello putting up Christmas lights with a boarding student.
(Merritt Sellers)

“He’s a kid at heart,” Forte said.

Matt Polisnello is the guy who brings spirits up after a tough day at school. Asking questions about topics he knows that you are interested in, Polsinello knows exactly how to connect with people.

How could a person come to be so positive and caring?

While growing up in upstate New York, Matt Polsinello experienced plenty of bad coaches and teachers.

“I vividly remember the basketball coach I had when I was in high school, who just wasn’t the best guy,” Polsinello said. “And I always tell myself that I will never give that experience to a kid here.“

This inspired Matt Polsinello to be the compassionate person he is and helped him to figure out what he wants to do in life: work with kids to support them.  Polsinello explained that working with kids always came easy to him, and as a result, kids typically love him.

“My mom always tells me to do what comes naturally,” Polsinello said.

But before working in a school Matt Polsinello had some obstacles to overcome. He graduated from college with a degree in psychology. Drowning in student loan debt, Polsinello started working at a bank. If you know anything about Polsinello, you know he’s not the type to work in a bank.

“I was financial advising. It felt weird; my job was essentially trying to get people to invest in different products and stuff,” Polsinello said.

Matt Polsinello quit on the New Year’s day 2020, unaware of the epidemic about to sweep the nation and the world. When COVID 19 hit, Polsinello found himself working at a CVS as an Assistant Manager. In the fall later that year, Polsinello started working at a school and delivering newspapers.

Working three jobs at once, Matt Polsinello’s schedule was crazy. Waking up at 2 a.m. and delivering papers and going to work at a school at 6 a.m. in the morning was tiring.  Last but not least, from 3:30p.m. to 11 p.m., sometimes midnight, Polsinello would work at CVS. Then he would sleep for a few hours and start the routine all over again.

The school Polsinello worked at was a special education preschool. At the time in New York you needed a masters degree to teach in a public school and at least three years of teaching experience at private schools, none of which Polsinello had, so his title was teacher’s assistant.

“Before this place, I could only think that if you’re working in a school, you are a teacher,” Polsinello said. “I never thought of how many different departments there are in a school, and I just always was one track minded on teaching.”

When the school year ended, Polsinello quit CVS and went to a new school. The new school was a special education kindergarten through eighth grade school, which worked better with Polsinello’s teaching style. As cute as the preschoolers were, Polsinello communicated better through conversations, which can be difficult for three year olds. This time, Polsinello’s role was to reward the kids’ good behavior by playing basketball with them or playing songs he taught himself on a keyboard. 

“The teachers would be like, ‘if you do this, you can go play basketball with Mr. Matt,  or you can go play the keyboard with Mr. Matt…’” Polsinello said he did all this “to keep the mojo cool.”

The next year, Matt Polsinello applied for positions  in  boarding schools that are similar to his current role. He applied to multiple schools in New Jersey, but in a stroke of fate, the former dean of student life, Todd Lofredo, received Polsinello’s application and reached out to Matt Polsinello about an opportunity at a school in California, and he was all ears. 

“And then I had one interview. And then a couple days go by, I had another interview,” Matt Polsinello said. “I started to realize that I might be moving to California.”

Before moving to California, Matt Polsinello had barely been west of Ohio.

“California felt like a fever dream,” Matt Polsinello said. 

Somehow the stars connected, and Matt Polsinello ended up at San Domenico at the right time to change his life and the lives of those around him.

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About the Contributor
Merritt Sellers, Head Illustrator/Social Media Manager/Reporter
Merritt Sellers is a sophomore at San Domenico and a contributor of The Panther Press. She enjoys sailing, sewing, and art.

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