Countless mathematics classes + thousands of engaged students x years of personal and professional growth = Lisa Ledwith's 36-year teaching career at Germantown Academy.
“It’s always been fun and there’s always something new to learn,” said Ledwith, who was just named to the honorary 1760 alumni class. “The kids are great; the colleagues are wonderful, so why change?”
But Ledwith is inching toward a large variable coming this June––she will retire at the end of the 2021-22 school year.
“With an unparalleled level of Southern Charm, the ability to teach the whole swath of the math curriculum, a love for coaching across divisions, a willingness to step up to take on some of the least glamorous tasks, and a sublimely easy-going nature, Lisa ‘Leddy’ Ledwith has truly made her mark at the Academy," said Head of School Rich Schellhas 1760. "We are all grateful for her many years of extremely hard work and service to GA on so many fronts. Exciting travels and time with her expanding family await Lisa and her tried-and-true Patriot husband Kevin, but we will forever remember their glamorous prom appearances and shared dedication to our school. Lisa’s unflappable work ethic, friendly candor, and clear love of working with teenagers in all their beguiling manifestations have distinguished her time on our campus, and I know she will be greatly missed.”
Ledwith came to GA from Connecticut after her husband transferred jobs. She simply found a job listing and applied. She has taught a broad spectrum of mathematics courses during her tenure––Algebra 1 to BC Calculus, and said she enjoyed them all.
“One combination that was fun to teach in the same year was 9th grade geometry and 12th grade calculus," said Ledwith. "Teaching the ‘bookends’ of the Upper School was enjoyable. Often I would be covering the same topic in each course but at a different level or angle.”
A teaching highlight for Ledwith was taking students on Math Trails in Philadelphia. She created math problems for students to solve using objects and landmarks found in Center City. For example, students would draw a graph depicting the distance between two riders on parallel escalators, if one starts at the bottom and one starts at the top. Besides doing math, she says the trail showed students that mathematics can be found everywhere. Her teaching style has been a formula for student success.
But Lisa wasn’t only seen on campus with her mathematics hat on. There was also a large probability that she could be found at activities outside of the classroom––from eating dumplings with GA students on a trip to Beijing; dancing at various venues in Philadelphia at GA proms; to experiencing Bubba Gump’s wacky trivia contest before dinner in NYC after attending a Broadway musical with a senior class––Ledwith was very involved with students. She was also an accomplished girls’ soccer and basketball coach; most notably for the 2008 undefeated Middle School soccer season, and coaching the entire 2005-06 Middle School girls’ basketball schedule with just five players on the squad.
What’s next for Lisa Ledwith when she enters retirement mode? She says the solution to that equation is yet to be determined.
“While I will continue to travel and continue to dig in the soil, the shape of my next chapter is not yet clear but will be full of adventures, fun times, and family.”
But Ledwith is okay with the unknown, because like any math problem, the answer will be figured out; it may just take time to solve: “GA is where my family grew up, and I grew up too. But I’m still growing up. I still think I’m still growing up. I was allowed to grow and change here as the time went on. That’s one thing that’s nice about teaching. You’re like your own boss in a lot of ways. You can run the show and develop things over time.”