HCS Changemaker: Mrs. Penny Lundgren
Congratulations to Mrs. Penny Lundgren, a second-grade teacher at Mountain Gap Elementary School, who has been selected as an HCS Changemaker!Mrs. Lundgren has loved being around children for as long as she can remember. Between playing school with dolls as a child, baby-sitting as a teenager, or working as a camp counselor during her college years, it’s easy to understand why she calls teaching “a natural fit.” After graduation, she was hired to teach English at the American School in Switzerland before she returned to the states. Her career spans across schools in Virginia, North Carolina, and finally Alabama, but she is quick to point out that Alabama is definitely one of her favorites.
“When she talks about her students, she just lights up,” says Mountain Gap Elementary Principal Amber Hall, “and she forms these really unique bonds with each one of them.” Known for her kindness, compassion, and empathy, Mrs. Lundgren also develops positive relationships with the families of her students. She says, “I reach out to them on a regular basis and make sure they know I am approachable, and they can ask me about anything.” These connections, she adds, helps to ensure the success of each student in her class.
Her students engage in a variety of activities which include singing patriotic songs, playing math-based card games, and partnered or group work, though some of these activities have had to be modified due to the pandemic. She also structures each of her lessons with a variety of auditory, kinesthetic, and visual content to ensure all student learning styles are included. In addition, Mrs. Lundgren’s class often discusses real-world events so that the students can begin to understand how a democracy functions.
When she isn’t teaching, Mrs. Lundgren likes to spend as much time as possible with family. She has a son and daughter, who live in Raleigh, North Carolina and New York City, respectively. She loves the outdoors and likes to get back to North Carolina to see the beautiful mountains, enjoy boating, or visit the sprawling Biltmore Estate in Asheville. An avid reader, she also tries to say on top of the latest memoir and nonfiction releases. COVID-19 has also seen her take up embroidery. She says, “I’m not really a sewer or crafter, but it has been a relaxing way to pass the time when you’re stuck inside.”
The relationships Mrs. Lundgren forges last well beyond the second grade. She cares a great deal about her students and their families, and she makes sure they know they will not be forgotten. She ensures that the social and emotional needs of her students are met first and foremost. In her time as an educator, she has more than earned the title of Changemaker.