Moving On: Faculty leaving, retiring

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Longtime science teacher Eleanor Marie McDavid is retiring after 35 years at Stratford.

Stories by KAREN JARRARD, ANNA PAREL, MARY LYNES SUTTON, HADLEY NEAL, NICK DOROGY and KENZIE MUENZER 

Mrs. Eleanor Marie McDavid

When Mrs. Eleanor Marie McDavid received her college degree in biology, she assumed she would go on to medical school.

Instead, she took an interim job as a science teacher at Macon’s River North Academy and fell in love with teaching. A year and a half later, she was hired at Stratford Academy.

That was in 1982. She spent parts of the next four decades in the classroom.

“This school has been the centerpiece of my life,’’ said Mrs. McDavid, who is retiring after 35 years at Stratford. “My son, Will, went to school here from K4 through the 12th grade. Doctors, lawyers and my preacher have all been a part of my life here.’’

During the honors ceremony on Friday, May 20, the science department’s annual “Excellence in Science” award was named in her honor.

“It was very humbling,’’ she said. “I never expected it. It feels like I have a legacy.’’

Mrs. McDavid said she looks forward to relaxing and will travel and do volunteer work.

She won’t entirely disappear from the Stratford halls. She plans to stay involved with some tutoring and substitute teaching

“I’m not going to completely cut the cord,’’ she said. “I will forever be all things Stratford.’’

Coach Chance Reynolds

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Assistant upper school principal Chance Reynolds is leaving to take a school position in North Carolina. (Photo by KAREN JARRARD.)

Upper School assistant principal Chance Reynolds, as most people know, is a very personable man.

He enjoys getting to know his students, whether it’s learning details about their life or just learning their names. He enjoys seeing young people walk down the halls and knowing every single one of them.

In his six years at Stratford, he has become very attached to the school. One of his favorite things about being here is the opportunity to teach multiple freshman classes.

Mr. Reynolds, who has also coached at Stratford and is a former professional baseball player, said this gives him a chance to get to know the kids as they go through their high school careers. He enjoys watching them walk across the stage on graduation day and seeing how much all of them have changed.

But now it’s time to move on.

Mr. Reynolds has accepted as assistant head of school at Greenfield School in Wilson, N.C.

Math teacher Mrs. Theresa Ferrari will take over as assistant upper school principal. Mr. Bobby Stecher will be promoted to chair of the math department.

Casper (Mr. Fred) Fredrickson

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Casper “Mr. Fred” Fredrickson is beloved for his art classes and famous for his neckties. (Photo by MARY LYNES SUTTON, Gazebo Staff)

Upper school art teacher Casper Fredrickson, known by his students as “Mr. Fred,” is finishing up his last year at Stratford, where he has taught for 20 years.

“I have lots of fond memories here,” he said. “There’s not one moment that stands out to me. Every year is a new group and new adventure. I’m going to miss it.”

Known for his extraordinary tie collection, you can easily find him throughout the day greeting the freshman girls lunch table to show them what lunch box he brought or going to the library to tell Sun God a pun that he thought of.

Now that Mr. Fred is retiring, he is expecting a “honey-do” list.

“My wife has a three-or four-page list of everything she wants me to do,” he said. “So, I’ll do that then, try to paint and do art as much as I can.”

Mrs. Mary Beth Gumbart

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Mary Beth Gumbart

Mrs. Mary Beth Gumbart will be retiring after 19 years on the Stratford staff. Gumbart has taught in the English department and worked in the college office during her time here.

After retiring, Gumbart will focus on her family, including her parents, husband, and child, Taylor, a student at Stratford.

“I really enjoyed my time at Stratford. It really is a great place,” Gumbart said. “I’m really going to miss all the students. That has definitely the best part.”

Ms. Maddie Henderson

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Maddie Henderson. (Photo by ANNA PAREL)

Ms. Maddie Henderson, a Stratford 2007 graduate and English teacher, is leaving her alma mater after six years to attend seminary at Boston University.

Ms.Henderson has had some great memories in the classroom and said there are many things she will miss. She will miss her home room she has watched grow up from being freshmen to seniors. She also enjoyed teaching with some of her previous teachers.

“Since I’ll be home all summer, I will definitely come and say good-bye to everyone before I leave,” she said.

Mrs. Lindsey Stevens

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Lindsey Stevens

Mrs. Lindsey Stevens is leaving after 11 years at Stratford, where she taught English to seniors. She plans on spending time with her family and teaching exercise classes.

Her favorite Stratford memory was the ‘This I Believe’ speeches with her seniors.

“It’s really uplifting to have those at the end of the year and end it on a positive note,” she said. “To hear some heartfelt things from them is really meaningful to me.”

Coach Jamie Dickey

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Coach Jamie Dickey


Coach Jamie Dickey will be retiring after his sixth year at Stratford. Dickey was the head varsity basketball coach, varsity football offensive coordinator, and middle school P.E. coach.

Dickey went 105-52 in his time at Stratford, winning a GISA basketball state championship.

After leaving, Dickey will be working at the Cantrell car dealerships, working behind the scenes.

“I have really loved my time at Stratford and coaching,” Dickey said. 

Dr. Matt Stewart

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Dr. Matt Stewart

History teacher Dr. Matt Stewart is leaving after one year at Stratford to return to Indiana, to be closer to his family and his wife’s family.

He will be teaching three grades at a middle school.

“It’s definitely going to be different” said Stewart. “But I’m looking forward to it.”

He said his favorite memory at Stratford was serving as master of ceremonies for the talent show.