OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Watermark Bank is known for its financial services, but it’s also on a different mission – to help Oklahoma schools. 

“It takes a special heart to be an educator,” said Matt Pollock, CEO of Watermark Bank. “We can’t replace teachers, but we can help them for a day.”

Matt Pollock told KFOR he would provide his 21 employees with resources to obtain their substitute teacher certifications.

After hearing about the ongoing battle involving teacher shortages, the father of three made this decision.

“At the end of the day, we’re not taking a political stance,” said Pollock. “We’re just trying to help them in our small way do their job.” 

And the challenges COVID has forced upon our school systems continue. Many school districts across the metro can’t safely stay open without enough teachers and subs, and have been forced to close or move to distance learning.

Pollock believes his bank’s new effort could help fill that need for some school districts. 

“It’s not just a fact of babysitting,” said Pollock. “When we are there as substitute teachers, they don’t have to combine classes. They can do their jobs better.”

Pollock posted this message in part to Facebook: 

“With the ever-growing shortage of educational professionals, this issue goes beyond politics… We are encouraging our employees to dedicate two days per month as substitute teachers to assist our communities in the classroom.”

Pollock told KFOR he would cover the cost of getting certified, and he’ll even pay his employees just as he would on a typical workday. It’s his way of making a difference. 

“I would just tell every educator, administrator, bus driver, anybody that works in our school system,” said Pollock. “Thank you for what you do.”

Pollock said he finished his substitute application Tuesday morning for Deer Creek. He should be ready for his assignment soon.