Dell Elba Returns to Hills


“I knew I wanted to teach since day one,” new math teacher Mr. Dell Elba said. “It just kinda runs in the family.”

Elisha Stenger, Copy Editor

This year, Warren Hills welcomes alumnus Mr. Matthew Dell Elba to the Math Department, as the new Geometry and Algebra I teacher.

Dell Elba graduated in the Class of 2006, and attended Fairleigh Dickinson to earn his degree in Secondary Math Education.

Dell Elba’s passion for education began early on, growing up as the child of a kindergarten teacher.

“I was [at school with her] all the time,” he said. “That might’ve been what peaked my interest in teaching to start with.”

His experience as a student here at Warren Hills was another crucial part in bringing him back again, this time as a teacher.

“Obviously things have changed since then,” Dell Elba said, “but it allowed me to better prepare for what’s to come here.”

He also attributed his success as a teacher to Mrs. Cynthia Laws, who still teaches Honors Precalculus, Geometry, and CP Calculus here at Warren Hills. Dell Elba took Precalculus with Laws as a high school student, and learned under her as a student-teacher last year.

“She was probably what woke me up to what a real math class was like, and prepared me most for what was coming,”he said.

Dell Elba played soccer, tennis, wrestling, and track in high school, and continued soccer through college. He originally pursued a Physical Education degree during his freshman year at Long Island University. Ultimately, he chose math over phys ed simply due to the number of career options.

“I started as a physical education major because I enjoyed being physical,” he said, “but the job opportunities for physical education teachers are a lot less than math teachers, so that’s when I changed routes.”

Dell Elba worked a number of jobs before returning to Warren Hills. He taught at Montgomery High and Warren Tech, and he also dabbled in landscaping, painting, plumbing, and house maintenance. But he says that coming back to Warren Hills has been a special experience.

“I feel a little bit more of an attachment because I went here and there’s an older time,” he said. “There’s that little bit of nostalgic feeling that goes with it, and being a part of the community helps.”

Regardless of the subject he’s teaching, Dell Elba said what matters most to him is getting to work with students.

Despite the fact that teaching, and especially math, takes an immense amount of time and dedication, Dell Elba says the sense of fulfillment outweighs any drawbacks.

“I get to be around the students, I get to see them improve, I get to see how they register, and help provide them for later in life,” he said.

His advice to students who want to pursue a career in Math Education?

“Be ready to put the work in in college because the math route is not the easiest way to go,” he said, “but, I suggest it for anybody that loves that black-and-white, right-and-wrong answer type of situation.”