It is with sadness that Montverde Academy shares that at the age of 85, Dr. Walter L. Stephens, Trustee and former Chairman of the Board and President of the Academy, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, October 20 with his daughters, Renee Stephens Lundy and Lori Specht, by his side.
Joining Montverde Academy in 1961 as a teacher, coach and dorm parent, Dr. Stephens later became Head of School and President in 1969 where he served until his retirement in 1999. On his retirement, Dr. Stephens became Chairman of the Board of Trustees 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 campus master plan including construction of the Walter L. Stephens Administration Building, the Sandro O. Stephens Fine Arts Building, the Kreke Science Building, the Bedell Dining Hall, addition to the McKenzie Classroom Building, McCammack Hall, the George Rast Library, McQuaig Activities Building, the Duncan Student Center and the Duncan Bell Tower and several apartment buildings for faculty. Following several years of fiscal operating concern, Dr. Stephens restored financial stability and placed the Academy on a sound financial path. 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 people from around the world were the beneficiaries of his commitment to education and to the students and families of Montverde Academy.
“Dr. Stephens was a mentor and father figure throughout my more than two decades of service at Montverde Academy; 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 sorely 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 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.