Matt Gaertner, husband, father, psychometrician, and friend passed away unexpectedly on Friday, August 13, 2021, in San Diego, CA. He is survived by his wife Freya; children Corinne and Genevieve; sister Bryn Gaertner (Tim Ahearne), and parents Karen Newman and Greg Gaertner.
Matt was born on March 27, 1978, in Williamsport, PA. He grew up in the DC suburb of Darnestown, where he graduated from Quince Orchard High School in 1996. He was a three-sport letterman, a member of the National Honor Society, and the Managing Editor of the school newspaper. He earned his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University in 2000 and his Ph.D. in 2011 from the University of Colorado. He will be remembered as a superb father, a loving husband, and a loyal friend. His smile was contagious, and to meet him was to laugh with him.
As a psychometrician, Matt avidly pursued projects that led to more access to quality education for all. In his work as Director of Assessment Research and Innovation at WestEd, an assessment organization, he studied the effects of educational policies on access, persistence, achievement, and labor market outcomes for disadvantaged learners. An active member of his professional community, he was a frequent conference speaker, the author of more than 30 articles and book chapters, and the co-author of a book on educational achievement.
He is described by his colleagues as full of life, always positive, insightful, and witty. He had the ability to translate complex analyses into practical action and had an unwavering commitment to equity and social justice. He wanted to make a positive difference in the world.
He is described by his family as a goofy, kind, sensitive, brilliant man, who could make them laugh till they cried. He was deeply loved and will be truly missed.
A celebration of Matt’s life is being planned in Austin, TX – details forthcoming. An education fund has been established for Matt’s daughters, Corinne and Genevieve. Those wishing to donate can do so here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/gaertner-family-education-fund
Those wishing to learn more about Matt’s professional contributions can do so here: