Jon Mundorf – 2020 Dennison Teacher Researcher Award

May 7, 2020

How does one embody the identity of a teacher-researcher? You might look to the most recent recipient of the 2020 P.K. Yonge Dennison Teacher Researcher Award, Dr. Jon Mundorf, as an excellent example. Mundorf’s dedication to teaching, inspired and enhanced by sound research, the findings of which are then implemented in his own classroom, are the true hallmarks of a practitioner-scholar.

Mundorf attributes very early experiences in his own classroom as the origin of his multi-pronged approach to the profession. Bumping up against the “one-size-fits-all model that ultimately fits none” sparked a passion for designing learning environments that truly serve all learners. This desire to develop the best possible methods to support learning for students with diverse needs has led Mundorf to pose and investigate questions as part of his classroom-based teacher inquiry projects, to collaborate with researchers in the University of Florida’s College of Education, and to develop professional associations with the Harvard Graduate School of Education, CAST, and UDL-IRN.

Early experience at professional conferences, while stimulating and fulfilling, left Mundorf questioning how the research outcomes presented would find their way into classrooms and impact the teachers and learners for whom they were intended. Through his doctoral work at the UF College of Education (Ed.D. 2014) a door to his professional association with Harvard was opened and a renowned career in Universal Design for Learning was launched. These have now become well-established pathways for findings from his classroom-based research to impact large numbers of educators from all over the world.

A quick review of Mundorf’s resume reveals extensive contributions to the field of teaching and learning locally, nationally, and internationally — publications in international journals, presentations as far afield as New Zealand, designing and leading professional learning activities at P.K. Yonge, Harvard, and Hokkaido University in Japan, and advocating for educators in Washington DC.

Mundorf is a born educator — excited by questions of practice, interested in learners’ paths to mastery, and determined to design the best possible learning environments. Mundorf loves his students and has a deep connection with them. Whether they are 8th-graders or adult participants in one of Mundorf’s professional learning institutes, it’s very clear that he wants to understand who they are, where they are, and what they think. He wants to know them deeply so that he can design a space for learning that considers each one individually and supports their unique and different learning pathways.

Mundorf’s commitment to Teacher Inquiry at P.K. Yonge along with professional partnerships with the UF College of Education researchers including Angela Kohnen, Danling Fu, and Kara Dawson strengthens the relationship between research and classroom practice and shores up P.K. Yonge’s role as an incubator for innovations in K12 education for the state of Florida. The Dennison Teacher Researcher Award recognizes Jon Mundorf’s commitment to the mission of the school, his collaborations and partnership with the College of Education, and his work in educational improvement for the state and beyond.

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