After many years working at Mills E Godwin High School, three teachers are retiring and one counselor is moving on to a new opportunity. Social studies teacher Chris Dunn, Spanish teacher Alba Marina Croce-Andueza, science teacher Denise Green, and school counselor Karis Hunt will all be leaving Godwin next year.
Dunn has worked at Godwin for 26 years as a US History, World History I and II, Government, and Driver’s Education teacher. Before working at Godwin, he worked at Highland Springs for one year.
Dunn was inspired to get his teaching degree after he saw his stepson on the football field.
“I always wanted to be a coach and I loved all things history, and when I saw my stepson playing football at Freeman, where I played many years before, I decided to go back to school and get my teaching certificate,” said Dunn.
Dunn’s favorite part about teaching is being able to make connections with his students and watch them grow as individuals.
“I think at the end of the day, it’s the interaction with students in the classroom and on the field, being able to impart knowledge, seeing the lightbulb come on,” said Dunn.
Through teaching, the most important lesson that Dunn has learned is “patience and compassion.”
When Dunn retires, he plans to continue teaching Driver’s Ed and Behind the Wheel as a substitute teacher.
One piece of advice that Dunn has for all of us is, “Find something to do for a career that you love. Be glad to be going to work and enjoy your job! Your first job does not have to be your whole life. Keep looking until you find the right thing! I did and found my perfect job!”
Additionally, Andueza has worked for Godwin for 21 years as a Spanish III, IV, and AP teacher. Before teaching at Godwin, she worked at Dumbarton Elementary School in Henrico teaching music to young kids.
Both music and Spanish play a role in Andueza’s passion for teaching. Alongside teaching in the Godwin building, Andueza teaches students at her house how to play the piano.
“I have held a piano studio at my home for twenty-five years. I teach twenty students who come to my house for one on one piano lessons once a week,” said Andueza.
Andueza’s favorite thing about teaching is being around young minds who are enthusiastic about learning Spanish. She also loves creating lessons that will engage her students.
“It is a real joy to see my students getting so involved in a lesson,” said Andueza.
After retirement, Andueza plans to continue with her piano studio and also continue to give piano recital conferences on the Four Hands Piano music of Hispano-American composers with her Piano Duo partner, Itzel Hamill.
Andueza will miss coming to her classroom filled with smiling students and the daily conversations in “La Plaza” with her fellow Spanish teachers.
“I will also miss coming to Godwin every day with eagerness to teach a new wonderful lesson, to see my students, to see my Godwin family that I have seen on a weekly basis for twenty-one years,” said Andueza.
Additionally, Denise Green, a biology teacher, retired earlier this year in January.
Karis Hunt has worked at Godwin as a school counselor for five years. Before she was at Godwin, she worked at a school in South Carolina for seven years.
Hunt loves working with students as they get ready to make impactful life decisions.
“My favorite part is working with students as they make their big life choices. It is so fun watching students grow from adolescents into young adults and choose career paths and colleges,” said Hunt.
Hunt will continue her counseling career at a high school in Chesterfield county that is closer to her home.
Many of the teachers retiring will miss certain aspects of their career. Dunn will miss “[his] colleagues and [his] students”. Andueza will miss “coming to a classroom filled with the smiles of [her] students and their enthusiasm to learn [her] native language”. Hunt will miss the “camaraderie and the support students offer each other.”
As well as missing a variety of aspects of their career, these teachers have had many memorable experiences along the way.
One of Andueza’s favorite memories was this year when a student surprised her online as a thank you for all of her hard work during a difficult year.
“I will never forget when junior, Shraddha Anup, talked on behalf of the whole class with words of appreciation describing how much my enthusiastic virtual teaching meant to them. [Anup then] asked all her classmates to turn on their cameras. I will be forever grateful for their lovely gesture,” said Andueza.
Hunt’s favorite memory was of freshman orientation.
“My favorite Godwin school event is freshman orientation. I enjoy watching the incoming ninth grade students and their excitement and the love the upperclassmen have for Godwin. It is always a happy event to start the school year,” said Hunt.
A favorite memory from Dunn involves hearing from his former students.
“I think hearing from former students who have become teachers are my favorite [memories],” said Dunn.