Matthew J. Vanderlaan


  • M.A.T. in Secondary English, University of Portland
  • M.F.A. in Creative Writing - Nonfiction, Pacific University
  • B.A. in English and Philosophy, University of Portland

Awards and Honors:

  • Louis J. Masson Outstanding English Major, 2011
  • Judge Memorial Teacher of the Year, 2018

Moderates the following activities:

  • Football Film Crew
  • Judge Adventuring Guild
  • Mock Trial

Matthew Vanderlaan has been a member of Judge Memorial’s English Department since 2014. He teaches AP Seminar and AP Research. Additionally, he moderates Mock Trial, the Judge Adventuring Guild, and oversees the Football film crew.

While a junior in high school, Mr. Vanderlaan's mother was deployed to Kuwait for a year. His debate/speech teacher allowed him to come in early every day and would just listen as he shared his thoughts in the absence of his mother. She guided him through that year with love and compassion. It was this selfless act of compassion from his teacher that inspired him to follow the same career path. He hopes he can do the same for his students. “Watching the synapses fire and the eyes light up of a student who makes that mental leap, that sudden connection, and the excitement that they have to express their thought” is his favorite part of teaching.

In his free time, Mr. Vanderlaan enjoys writing, storytelling, trivia, reading comic books, and spending time with his cats Olive, Fritti, and Tiberius.

One of Mr. Vanderlaan's favorite quotes comes from Victor Hugo:

“Liberation is not deliverance”

We can provide someone with all the tools or means of freedom, but guidance is still necessary to show the ways to approach that liberation.