2014 Teacher of the Year Mr. Christopher Dowdell


Mr. Dowdell graduated from DeLand High School in 1991, earned his Associate’s Degree from Daytona Beach Community College in 1997 and then a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Studies Education from UCF in 2000.

He taught Social Studies at Deltona High School from 2000-2007 before transferring to DeLand High School for the 2007-2008 school year. He has been here ever since. Although he is Social Studies Education certified, his specialty has been U.S. History and Economics.

For U.S. History, Mr. Dowdell was fortunate enough to be a member of the Teaching American History Grant program for 7 years which greatly increased his depth of knowledge in the subject.

For Economics, he developed and copyrighted The Budget Project, a real-life financial simulation that all of his seniors experience before they graduate. The Budget Project was awarded 2nd place during the FCEE Governor’s Award competition last May in the Financial Literacy category. The project is now a county-approved method for teaching the state’s new Financial Literacy standards and he has applied for a Futures mini-grant to create and distribute enough copies for all Economics teachers across the county. Mr. Dowdell will be collaborating with an outside financial planning agency to offer a series of parent-teen financial planning nights over the remainder of the year.

Mr. Dowdell also coaches both the Deland High boys soccer team and girls flag football team and has volunteered in the community as a youth soccer coach and trainer.

In his private life, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Sarah, and two daughters, Evelyn and Laura. He lives a very active lifestyle, going for daily bike rides and playing soccer, football and golf whenever possible. He also escapes to the mountains a few times per year to hike and snow-ski.

Thoughts from his peers:
“Chris has an "open door" policy. I can always go to him with questions or concerns. He is always willing to help. Whether it's with lesson plans or school agenda, he is always lending a helping hand. The students adore him and his teaching style! He truly cares about the students' over- all well being!”
~Marlo Jones, Social Studies Teacher

“Chris Dowdell is an outstanding teacher as made evident through the impact he has on the students of DeLand High School. Through his dedication to his profession, he insists on excellence from not only his students but from the athletes he coaches as well. Chris sets his expectations high and pushes his kids to surpass them. He has a commendable reputation on campus as a teacher that is revered and admired. This admiration is not only seen from his students but is observed within the faculty as well. Chris Dowdell exemplifies Teacher of the Year.”
~Mendi Camacho, Social Studies Teacher

“I have had the pleasure of working with Chris Dowdell in several capacities. The first was as a Social Studies colleague in the county and now as a member of the Social Studies department at DeLand High. I first met Chris through our participation in the Volusia County History grants, where I was highly impressed with Chris’ passion for teaching and for his subject area. Chris’ experience and knowledge is vast and based in his educational philosophy and love for his job. Over the years, I have found myself having may discussions with Chris about pedagogy and content that have challenged my own views and helped shape my own instructional practices. Professionally, I love hearing from my former students how much they’ve learned in Mr. Dowdell’s classroom and especially how much they love his economics budget project. These former students consistently tell me that they have a better appreciation for their hard earned paychecks and how impactful the lessons they learned from that budget project was on their life. It is an honor to be able to work with Chris Dowdell as a colleague and an even more of an honor to call him my friend.”
~Lindsay Brinkmann, Social Studies Teacher