Mark Pennypacker ’04 is dedicated to educating young men and women in the Winchester community.
As a science teacher at James Wood High School, Pennypacker has over 20 years of experience in the profession, and believes that the most rewarding things about being a teacher is the feeling that he is making a difference.
Many students, who we see later in life, will often say, ‘I remember when…’ or, ‘You were right when you said…’. That is when you know that you have made a difference in the life of a student.”
His journey to teaching actually began through his experiences as a chaplain. Pennypacker served in that capacity at St. Elizabeth’s in Washington, D.C., and one of the wards he served on was a behavior modification ward. Later on in his career, he had the opportunity to teach in a local private school that uses behavior modification. That led him to special education, and now to his position as a regular science teacher. “It’s amazing where the path of life leads a person,” says Pennypacker.
Although he already had a master’s degree, Pennypacker decided at the age of 40 to pursue a second. He was encouraged by Dr. Glenn Burdick, former superintendent of Winchester Public Schools, to look into the Educational Administration program at Shenandoah. “It was challenging and rewarding,” says Pennypacker.
My experience at Shenandoah allowed me to become a better teacher. It allowed me the opportunity to gain a new perspective on the whole educational environment. I look forward to helping SU create more of the same opportunities that were afforded to me.”
That desire to contribute his time and effort is why he is serving on the Shenandoah University Alumni Board of Directors. “Shenandoah University provided me with a wonderful learning opportunity. It has also provided my children with many community activities such as the conservatory arts programs. I would simply like to give back to the university,” says Pennypacker.
He is no stranger to community service, as Pennypacker has served on numerous boards and participated in various organizations in the Winchester-Frederick County community. He says giving back “was instilled, within me, at a very early age by my parents.” Pennypacker is a People to People student ambassador leader and board member, an instructor trainer in CPR and lifeguarding with the American Red Cross and an officer of Treadwell Masonic Lodge in White Post, Va.
Pennypacker is a past president of the Winchester Shawnee Lions Club. He is a former board member of the Winchester Parks and Recreation Department, Winchester-Frederick American Red Cross, Blue Ridge Youth Soccer and United Way of the Northern Shenandoah Valley.
Pennypacker’s love for science isn’t contained to his high school classroom – he is an avid stormchaser and he recently earned his third master’s degree – a Master of Science in Geosciences from Mississippi State.
He and his wife, Judy, will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary in June. They live in Winchester and are the proud parents of four children and a granddaughter. The couple is expecting their second grandchild later this year.