Meet Ms. Matanah


What do you like best about school? There’s so much I love it’s hard to choose! I like to learn about a lot of subjects. I love building relationships with students and families and helping students gain school and life skills. I love teaming with other teachers and sharing ideas about teaching.

Tell us about your life before 4th grade at Pratt. Before joining the Pratt staff at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year I taught a bilingual Spanish 2nd grade class at Andersen Elementary. (Bilingual means I taught in both Spanish and English). Before that I taught 2nd and 3rd grade at Ramsey International Fine Arts Center (now Folwell). My first job in the district was teaching Special Education at Holland School, which has now closed. In between Ramsey and Andersen I took a break from teaching and started a non-profit called Rainbow Rumpus, which creates stories for kids from LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender)-headed homes. I also have spent time in the summer in El Salvador helping to teach English to pre-K through 12th grade students at schools run by the Society of Friends (Quakers).

What do you like to do when you’re not at school?- I like spending time with my family, getting outdoors,  going to the Y, playing board games, and reading. I live in the Seward neighborhood.  I’m delighted to be part of the Pratt community and to be teaching students from the area where I live.

Is there anything interesting about your name? My parents gave me my first name, Laura, after a favorite aunt of my mom’s who loved to travel. Our last name, Matanah, means “gift” in Hebrew and “blessing” in Arabic. We took it when we adopted our kids who are now in high school. They’re twins, and their names are Da’Jon and Tajah. I recently learned that Mataan in Somali means “twins” too and I thought that was pretty amazing.

Anything else? I want to extend a special welcome to students and families who are from other countries. Travelling to El Salvador  reminded me of the joys and challenges of living in another culture. It also reminded me of what a gift welcoming acts are!  I had a chance to attend my first Iftar (breaking the fast of Ramadan) in July. I’m working with and learning from the many cultural backgrounds of families at Pratt.