It is with deep sadness that Montverde Academy shares that at the age of 85, Trustee and former President of the Academy, Dr. Walter L. Stephens passed away peacefully on Tuesday, October 20 with his daughters by his side.
Joining Montverde Academy in 1961 as a teacher, coach and dorm parent, Dr. Stephens later became principal in 1968, Head of School in 1969 and later as President of the Academy where he served until his retirement in 1999. On his retirement, Dr. Stephens became Chairman of the Board where he served until 2017 when Renee Stephens Lundy was elected Chairwoman of the Board while Dr. Stephens continued to serve as a Trustee.
On his appointment as Head of School in 1969, Dr. Stephens saw the school through an expansive construction plan including construction of the Walter L. Stephens Administration building, the Sandra O. Stephens Fine Arts Building, the Kreke Science Building, the Bedell Dining Hall, addition to McKenzie Classroom Building, McCammack Hall, the Rast Library, McQuaig Activities Building, the Duncan Student Center and the Duncan Bell Tower and several apartment buildings for faculty. Following some years of fiscal operating concern, Dr. Stephens restored financial stability to the Academy and placed the Academy on sound financial footing. He served Montverde Academy for 61 years, 8 years as a teacher, coach and dorm parent, 31 as Head of School and 22 years as a Trustee including 20 as Chairman of the Board. His legacy will be forever etched into the history of Montverde Academy and more importantly hundreds of young of people from around the world were the beneficiaries of his commitment to education and Montverde Academy.
"Personally, Dr. Stephens was a mentor and father figure throughout my more than two decades of service, and it was a blessing to have someone who truly understood the challenges of school leadership by my side in ways no one else could," said Dr. Kasey C. Kesselring, Montverde Academy Head of School. "His family, including his wife Sandra, committed their lives to Montverde Academy—living, working, raising a family and serving the students of MVA. He will be missed. We wish his wife Sandra and his daughters Lori and Renee and their families peace during this time of grief."
Dr. Stephens is survived by his wife Sandra O. Stephens, his daughter Renee Stephens Lundy, son-in-law Rodney Lundy, grandchildren Bella and Max Lundy and daughter Lori Stephens Specht, son-in-law Carl Specht and grandchildren Madison and Jake Specht.
There will be a memorial service honoring Dr. Stephens on Tuesday, October 27 at 3:30 p.m. at the EdgeCenter (aka the Nest) on the Montverde Academy campus. The service is open to all faculty, parents past and present, and alumni. The service will be set for social distancing. Face coverings and temperature checks are required to enter the building. The Reverend Phil Prescott will be officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family has established the Dr. Walter L. Stephens, Jr. Memorial Fund at Montverde Academy to provide support for student leadership initiatives through the HLI program at Montverde Academy. Donations of support may be made online at https://www.montverde.org/support-mva/walter-l-stephens-memorial-fund.