Henrico’s Top Teachers – Gardner Mundy

Thanks to his father, who took him on weekend adventures exploring historic sites, Gardner Mundy acquired an early interest in history. An English history teacher and a cross country coach in high school also had considerable influence in his decision to become an educator.

After obtaining a degree in history from Virginia Military Institute and a masters in history from University of Richmond, Mundy taught and coached at Wyoming Seminary and Fork Union Military Academy. He also served as assistant to the superintendent at VMI before joining The Steward School faculty in the fall of 2004.

At Steward, he has won not only a Peer Recognition Award, but also the ABCD Award – awarded by Steward students to the Upper School teacher who goes "above and beyond the call of duty."

So it's not surprising that peers and students alike are generous with their praise of Mundy and his strengths – which one colleague cited as his "flexibility, clarity, and relationships – relationships that are authentic, reflect kindness and respect, yet assert high expectations."

Currently Dean of Students in the Upper School and a teacher of World Studies and U.S. History, Mundy has juggled roles as coach, administrator, advisor, and mentor in addition to educator. "Gardner typifies the core spirit of balance, perspective, and humor," wrote his colleague, "and the reason he is so successful is because of his character and his relationships with other people. . . He is the model for the school’s mission and honor code."

A student notes that Mundy is extremely personable and connects with all students with ease. "As an advisor, Mr. Mundy is the guy to go to. He is always willing to listen or help in any way, shape or form. He is seriously interested in what [students] have going on.

"All in all, Mr. Mundy is a great teacher and an amazing man.”

For Mundy, the extracurricular roles are a special treat. "Working with students outside of the classroom is so much fun – things like student council and coaching allow you to get to know the students better."

In the classroom, he says, it seems there is never enough time to cover the subjects he loves. But he enjoys seeing students get turned on to those subjects – especially when they may have been ho-hum about social studies in the past.

"It is so rewarding having something click," he says. "Seeing their face when the lightbulb goes off is the best!"

He points out that by the time they reach his class, students have had American history six or seven times. "And this might be the last time; if they don't get the real story now, they may never get it."

So he makes a point of getting them to look at historical accounts in a new way, and to challenge the "Disneyfication" of history, as well as idealized or sanitized versions of it. He introduces them to such books as Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen (or "J-Lo" as Mundy has nicknamed the author to amuse the kids).

"I love debunking the myths," he says.

All in all, Mundy says, he can't imagine trading his job for anything else. "I love working with the kids, parents, and colleagues.

"I don't know what I would do if I wasn't teaching.”
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Henrico Business Bulletin Board

September 2017

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The McShin Foundation’s 13th annual Recovery Fest and 8th annual Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned State Championship BBQ Cookoff will take place from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Hatcher Memorial Baptist Church, 2300 Dumbarton Rd. There will be state agencies, nonprofits, recovery resources and vendors, as well as corn hole, food and family fun. Featuring musical guests Matt Butler and The Mashup and speakers to include Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. For details, visit http://www.bbq.mcshin.org. Full text

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Henrico's Top Teachers

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